The Maine Department of Education cited George Floyd's death to defend its Biden-funded sex education lesson that taught kindergartners about transgenderism, according to internal documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Facing criticism from parents, the department in May scrubbed a lesson plan from its website that described a transgender person as "someone who the doctors made a mistake about when they're born." But privately, the department dismissed opposition to the lesson plan, which received funding through President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, as a "political disparaging of our education system" and insisted that teaching elementary-age students about transgenderism "is more important than ever to end this cycle of violence and hate."
"We have to stand firm against hate," Kelli Deveaux, then-associate commissioner of public education, wrote to all department employees in a May email that was obtained through a public information request. "Two years ago we were all shocked to witness the murder of George Floyd, this weekend 10 people were murdered in Buffalo because of their race."
The Maine sex education debate is the latest in a series of fights nationwide over whether public schools should teach children about LGBT issues. Liberal advocacy groups funded by top Democratic Party donors have pushed school districts across the country to teach gender identity and transgenderism to elementary students, the Free Beacon reported last year. A group of Nebraska parents last year discovered through public information requests that their children's sex education curriculum was secretly reviewed by a Planned Parenthood activist and excluded religious groups, the Free Beacon reported.
The state's transgender lesson was a part of an online module, Maine Opportunities for Online Sustained Education (MOOSE), which the Maine Department of Education established in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as students transitioned to remote learning. The module, which the state spent $2.8 million to develop, contains optional online lesson plans that are written by teachers for students. Biden's American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in March 2021, funneled additional funds to the MOOSE program.
The Maine Education Department removed the LGBT lesson and placed it under review, Deveaux said in the internal email to employees, due to "one inartful sentence in which the teacher is explaining what LGBT stands for." The department faced public pushback after the lesson plan was the subject of a Maine GOP ad launched in opposition to Democratic governor Janet Mills, who campaigned on her pro-LGBT record in a tight race for reelection this year. Clips of the lesson also went viral on Twitter.
"Some people, when they get a little bit older, realize what the doctors said was not right," Maine kindergarten teacher Kailina Mills, who is not related to the governor, said in one now-deleted video lesson. "They might say the doctors told me I'm a man, but I'm really a woman."
In another section, transgender activist Jazz Jennings read from her children's book, I Am Jazz, which details how Jennings transitioned from male to female starting at five years old.
"I have a girl brain, but a boy body," Jennings read. "This is called transgender. I was born this way."
Shawn McBreairty, a Maine father of twin daughters who has campaigned against critical race theory and sexualized lesson plans in public schools, said the Maine Department of Education is pushing radical gender ideology on young students.
"We shouldn't be spending taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate kids through the hypersexualization of minors," McBreairty told the Free Beacon.
The Maine Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment about the internal emails. Deveaux, the associate commissioner who sent the emails, left the Maine Department of Education this month. The department did not respond to questions on whether Deveaux was fired.
The department designed the lesson plan to teach kindergartners that people "want to be free to love whoever they want—whether that's men, women, non-binary people, transgender people, or anyone else they choose." Among other activities, kindergarten students were instructed to advocate for LGBT causes through artwork.
"Even though some people refuse to let LGBT+ people love freely, LGBT+ activists have used their voices, their art, and their bodies to fight for their freedom," the lesson stated. "Today, you’re going to do the same thing. You are going to write and/or make art to show what love means to you. For people in the LGBT+ community, love means freedom. What does it mean to you?"
The lesson linked to two videos that promote pride parades as a "party" and "celebration," including the Blues Clues Pride Parade episode that shows a cartoon drag queen singing about animal families with gay, nonbinary, transgender, asexual, bisexual, and pansexual members. Students were then told to design their own pride parade float.
The lesson recommended LGBT-themed literature for young readers, including My Princess Boy, a story of a boy who likes to wear princess dresses, and Pride Puppy, which follows a "protagonist of ambiguous gender" through a Pride parade. Another recommendation, Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity, teaches there is a difference between children’s bodies and gender identity.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether it supports Maine's decision to pull the lesson plan.