Parents express concerns, anger after gender identity packet given to some local students

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Parents packed into the Cambridge Central School on Thursday to voice their concerns over a gender identity information packet handed out to students.

The training has seemingly split the town. Some said the information should be taught. Others said it had no place in schools and demanded something to be done.

One by one, parents walked up to the microphone. Some were upset.

“What might be okay for a 20 year old is most definitely not okay for a 12 year old.”

Others demanded answers.

“I mean, it really felt like you whitewashed us with your statement.”

Some were angry.

“You just stole the innocence of our kids. What do you have to say for that? Exactly. Nothing. I’m done.”

The informational packet was given to some students in October. It came from the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Included were words and definitions regarding the transgender and gay community.

It included gay slurs and sexual positions.

Parents said those words crossed a line.

“No one is upset with the gay community,” Rich Meachum said. “No one is upset with the LGBT community.”

Meachum has grandchildren entering the seventh grade. Seventh and tenth graders received the material. He was fine with the message but not the content.

“It would be just as bad if we talked about how babies are going to be made, and we showed birthing, you know?” he said.

But 15-year-old student Tyler Betit disagreed. He’s openly gay and said he’s been bullied because of it.

“You don’t need to be 100 percent accepting of it; you don’t need to praise it,” he said. “Just be more tolerant of it. Be more accepting.”

Betit said he was glad the teacher handed out the packet. He believed even the controversial words and slurs help make the subject matter less taboo, which can help others.

“Makes me very happy that I can speak about it and spread some education and tolerance,” he said.

The teacher who gave out the packet was placed on administrative leave, but she officially returned to work on Thursday.

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