Tensions flare at MCPS board meeting as parents and advocates clash over gender-inclusive curriculum

Hundreds of protestors turned out in force at the Montgomery County School Board meeting again Thursday to express their continued demands that parents should be allowed to opt out of certain classes, and books about sexuality and gender.

This fight has been intensifying for weeks since the MCPS board announced in March that parents would no longer be able to opt out kids from any curriculum dealing with gay, trans, or gender issues.  

A lawsuit has already been filed by Christian and Muslim groups who say the move violates their religious freedom.

To promote "inclusive" classrooms, MCPS approved gender-inclusive books like "Pride Puppy" and "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding" and classroom displays on gender in elementary schools. Protestors on both sides sounded off: Those who want to opt out say it's parents who should control what kids learn about sexuality. Others say this is about representation.

 "It’s best left in the hands of parents who know how to introduce these ideas to their children and when their children are really ready to be introduced to these ideas!!" said Wael El Koshairi.

"I mean, I understand how they feel, but it’s bothersome to me that they think these books are dangerous to their children!" said Leslie who supports the gender-inclusive curriculum.


Parents clash over LGBTQ+ books at MCPS board meeting

Protesters and parents gathered outside the Montgomery County School Board building on Tuesday while board members listened to community members debate the "no opt-out" policy for certain LGBTQ+ books approved for the classroom.

In March, MCPS ended letting parents opt out of classes dealing with gender and sexuality.

Montgomery County School Board didn't even have the opt-out issue on its agenda Thursday. But that didn't stop a long list of speakers taking the board to task, demanding the right to opt out for parents. 

One speaker, a Wooten High School senior, took a different stance, thanking the board for its moves to brocaded gender diversity. 

"I’m graduating at the end of this school year and one of my goals is for each Montgomery County public school to have multiple gender-inclusive bathroom, and I believe that we can do this and thank you," said Jax Kobey.

 "I’m telling you! Board of Education! Members! You will be regretting what you’re doing to this future young generation! If you’re truly about diversity, equity and fairness, work with parents," added Tewodros Shume, a parent who supports the opt-out option. 

No one from MCPS would agree to speak with FOX 5 Thursday, but in a statement the school district said: "Students and families may not choose to opt out of engaging with any instructional materials other than ‘Family life and human sexuality unit of instruction,’ which is specifically permitted by Maryland law."