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Murray School District suspends diversity book program after complaints

Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 19:57:13-05

MURRAY, Utah — The Murray School District has suspended a book program that gives young students a chance to learn about inclusion in diversity. Officials say it’s in response to parent’s complaints over a book read in class about a transgender boy.

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Administrators say last month a third grade student brought a copy of “Call Me Max” from home and asked the teacher to read it aloud to the class. The author, Kyle Lukoff, says the picture book is about a transgender boy figuring out who he is and making new friends.

The teacher deflected students questions – one in particular was about puberty. When parents found out, they contacted the school with their concerns.

“Call Me Max” is not part of the school’s Equity Book Bundles Program, but district spokesperson Doug Perry says they’re suspending the program. They’re reviewing every book on their list to ensure similar concerns are not brought up again.

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Amanda Darrow, the director of youth, family and education at the Utah Pride Center says she highly recommends the book.

“To find out that individuals are upset over you know a picture book is so disheartening,” said Darrow.

Darrow says it’s important children see themselves in books.

“When we pull the books from the classrooms that saying your identity doesn’t matter," Darrow says. "We need to see what’s okay to share about you and what’s okay not to share about you."

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For those upset with the content in Lukoff’s book, he encourages them to read it and learn that kids like Max and his friends deserve love, support and understanding.

Murray District leaders stress that they are not banning the books in the bundle program, merely reviewing all the books as part of policy guidelines.