Parents have expressed outrage and said their children are "traumatized" after a kindergarten lesson had a student's transgender reveal occur mid-class.
According to FOX40, during a lesson held at Rocklin Academy Schools in California, the teacher, who has not been named, read two books, I am Jazz and The Red Crayon, to explain "transgenderism" to the children, all between ages four and eight.
The teacher then conducted a "transition ceremony" for one of the students, first introducing the five-year-old to the class as a boy. The student then went into the bathroom and emerged dressed as a girl. Then, the teacher reintroduced the student to the children, and explained "she" was now a girl with a girl's name and was to be called that from now on.
The "ceremony" reportedly traumatized some of the students, including girls who went home crying to their parents, asking if they were going to turn into a boy. Another student, who never thought twice about gender, asked his parents if he could dress as a girl.
"My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy," said one parent.
"I want her to hear from me as a parent what her gender identity means to her and our family, not from a book that may be controversial," said another.
Most parents were upset, however, because they were not informed beforehand that the "ceremony" was going to take place. School officials also said the teacher read the books in class without prior approval from administrators, and parents weren't notified until a week later, when a letter was sent out.
"It's really about the parents being informed and involved and giving us the choice and rights of what's being introduced to our kids, and at what age," parent Chelsea McQuistan told CBS News.
Some concerned parents went to the Pacific Justice Institute and the California Family Council to represent them.
"These kids who had never struggled with their gender identity before are all of a sudden scared they could be turned into a boy," Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement with the California Family Council, told FOX40.
In turn, the district says the books were age-appropriate and fell within their literature selection policy. Claiming topics of gender identity don't require prior parental notice, the school argued that not reading the books would have put them at risk of discrimination and could expose them to a potential lawsuit.
As earlier reported, the number of children referred to "gender identity clinics" has quadrupled in the past five years. Statistics from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) reveal that 84 children aged between three and seven were referred to gender identity clinics last year, compared to just 20 in the year of 2012 to 2013.
Dr. Joanna Williams, author of Women vs Feminism, told the Telegraph that the results suggest that transgender issues are being "over-promoted" in schools.
"Children - encouraged by their experiences at school - are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages," she said.
Williams warned that teaching children about transgender issues could be "sowing seeds of confusion" in the minds of children and teens, leading to more seeking gender identity therapies.
"In doing more than just supporting transgender children, and instead sowing confusion about gender identity, schools do neither boys nor girls any favors," she said, adding that recent changes to school policies could be forcing children to "unlearn" the difference between boys and girls.