A North Carolina teacher used LGBTQ-themed flashcards – including one depicting a pregnant man – to teach preschoolers colors, lawmakers and district officials said.
The lesson involving controversial “Rainbow Families” flashcards at Ballentine Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina was flagged last week by a constituent to North Carolina Rep. Erin Paré, State House Speaker Tim Moore said Friday.
Rep. Paré then alerted the school’s principal to the non-approved curriculum and the flash cards – which previously sold for $20 for a set of 12 — were removed from the classroom, the lawmaker said.
“I am grateful that a concerned constituent reached out and that this issue is being addressed in a swift and professional manner by Ballentine Elementary School,” the Wake County Republican said.
The Wake County Public School System confirmed the flash cards were no longer being used in the classroom and that an investigation was underway, the News and Observer reported.
“The district is concerned to learn of the inappropriate instructional resource found in a preschool classroom,” district officials said in a statement Friday. “In order to help fulfill the educational goals and objectives of the school system, we strive to provide high quality instructional materials that will enrich and support the curriculum and enhance student learning.”
The flashcards were used without the principal’s knowledge or approval, district officials said.
The teacher who doled out the laminated flashcards was not identified by district officials. They were made by a company called ByUs Box, which billed them as a way to “bring anti-racism and inclusivity directly into family homes,” according to its website.
The company launched its “ByUs Box” positive educational toolkits in July 2020, but is no longer accepting new orders, its website states.
The flashcards used in the preschool classroom were intended to be a way to teach diverse “races, ages, sexualities, genders and abilities” to young minds.
“Perfect for baby showers!” the website reads. “A stunning gift for the progressive families in your life!”
Some 57% of North Carolina voters support the idea of passing legislation making parents the “primary decision-makers” regarding their child’s health and medical decisions, as well as to provide parents opt-out forms regarding age-appropriate classroom materials.
Lawmakers in North Carolina are reviewing legislation to address those concerns, Moore and Paré said.
“Schools should only be using age-appropriate materials, and these flashcards clearly do not meet that standard for a pre-school classroom,” Paré said.
Senate Republicans in North Carolina are moving ahead with legislation that would bar sexual orientation and gender identity lessons in K-3 classrooms. Lawmakers could vote as early as Tuesday on what’s being called the “Parents Bill of Rights,” the News and Observer reported.
Catherine Truitt, North Carolina’s superintendent of Public Instruction, also shared her take on the flashcards, characterizing them as inappropriate for young children.
“I can think of a hundred other ways to teach colors to pre-school children,” Truitt tweeted Friday. “Classroom materials need to be age appropriate, and this certainly doesn’t meet the mark.”