WELLINGTON, Fla— A Palm Beach County School District approved book, Lily and Dunkin, is sparking controversy among parents.
The fiction book, that’s deemed appropriate for grades 5th-8th, is about a transgender child and a student suffering from mental illness. Some parents of students from Polo Park Middle School feel they should have been notified before it was given out in class.
Parents reached out to WPTV NewsChannel 5 with concerns. They didn’t want to speak on camera out of fear of retaliation but off-camera say they wish they were made aware of the classroom assignment before their students were given the book. They say topics like sex education require consent forms and feel topics like mental illness and gender identity should be treated similarly, with notification to parents beforehand.
However, Compass Community Center in Lake Worth applauds the school district for introducing a book that talks about a subject often not discussed.
“It’s okay to have these conversations with your kids because they are living in the world and this is not something you can hide them from. Having books like this in school libraries is going to increase empathy for students, staff, teachers anyone who comes into contact with it,” said youth program director Amanda Canete.
The school district says parents with concerns can write to the principal and choose to opt-out, which will then have their child moved to another classroom and given another book.
The school district says the book is part of a state standard for diversity and tolerance. The school district went on to say the books were purchased with grant money provided by the CDC and are part of the “We’re All In” campaign promoting inclusivity.