An ongoing case between a fired public school teacher and her school district in the Atlanta, Georgia area over reading a book about gender identity has the national media up in arms, but the news coverage misses the mark.
Katie Rinderle, who taught in elementary school in the Cobb County School District and has ten years’ experience as a teacher, was told this past June that the district planned on firing her. She read a picture book, ” My Shadow is Purple,” to her fifth grade students at Due West Elementary School in March. At least one parent complained about the book and it got Rinderle in trouble.
Rinderle’s defense was that reading the book was not wrong because it was about an “appropriate” topic. She also said that the book helps students broaden their horizons “about their many interests and feeling that they should be able to choose any of their interests and explore all of their interests.”
Ultimately, the school district claimed that Rinderle ran afoul of Georgia’s recent law banning divisive content in school, House Bill 1084, which was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022. The district alleged that Rinderle was “uncoachable” when approached about the parental complaint.
According to Newsday, Rinderle’s fate will be decided by the school board after receiving a recommendation from a panel of three retired school principals. If fired, Rinderle could appeal the decision to Georgia’s Board of Education.
Yet this appears to not be the first time that Rinderle took book content into the gray area of politically-sensitive content.
She apparently read to her class a picture book written by former Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words.” It is unclear whether Rinderle faced parental criticism over reading Abrams’s book, but it could be an example of how Rinderle toed the line when it comes politically-sensitive content.
Adding to the chaos is that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) wrote a favorable article about her case on their website. This is the same SPLC which has an erroneous, anti-conservative “hate map” on its website.
According to the publisher’s description of the book, “My Shadow is Purple” is a “heartwarming and inspiring book about being true to yourself, by best-selling children’s book creator Scott Stuart. This story considers gender beyond binary in a vibrant spectrum of colour.”
The author also has another book called, “My Shadow is Pink,” which has similar LGBTQ+ and gender identity themes.
The author’s bio on Amazon reads, “Scott Stuart is father to a six-year-old boy who loves all things Queen Elsa and princesses. Their story of dressing up as Elsa together became a social media phenomenon. Having worked at The Royal Children’s Hospital, he has seen how important it is for children to feel represented and is committed to creating stories of empowerment.”
Additionally, booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble recommend LGBTQ-themed books when a user finds “My Shadow is Purple” online at their respective websites.
The media not only missed reporting on the details of the controversial LGBTQ-themed book and the author’s background, but failed to emphasize how it should be up to parents to discuss sensitive topics like gender identity. It is why parents revolted during and after the pandemic because some believed that their parental rights were being rescinded or ignored before their eyes.
It is telling that the left-wing, anti-conservative group SPLC publicly supports Rinderle, which calls into question whether Rinderle is a politically-neutral public school employee or not.
We should remember that even Hillary Clinton was once pilloried for pushing the left-wing ideology that a village raises a child but not the parents.