The book, 'Call Me Max', by Kyle Lukoff is described as an "age-appropriate introduction to what it means to be transgender." The story is about a transgender boy going to school and making friends.
The book appeared on a list of books that promoted diversity. However, when a fourth-grade teacher at Forest Trail Elementary read it to her class. Parents wrote letters to the school, demanding the teacher be fired.
In spite of the book being on an approved list, Susan Fambrough, Eanes Independent School District's chief learning officer, called the book "not appropriate to be read aloud to an entire elementary-age class."
She further wrote that counselors would be available. Parents of transgender students in the district are questioning the move and asking the question, 'is hearing about their identity so traumatic that others need counseling to cope with it?'
One parent of a transgender son believes it sends a message that transgender children can't talk about who they are. She believes the book would have been "life-changing" for her son, and the district sends "a terrible message" to children by calling the book inappropriate.
District Superintendent Tom Leonard said the book shouldn't have been called inappropriate. "I understand why that phrase would upset some people. I get it. However, he states parents should have been given a chance to opt their children out of hearing the book for "moral or religious reasons," which he said is required by state law.
Lukoff himself weighed in on a Twitter post that providing counseling to students is appropriate after, for example, a school shooting, but asked the school, "Do you believe that a read-aloud about a transgender child is an equivalent trauma?" "How do you think transgender people in your community felt having their identities treated like a disaster? Do you provide similar resources after a student in your district experiences homophobia or transphobia?"
Lukoff believes the response hurt transgender children."The underlying message is that the books are not appropriate to be read to children," he said. "And if the books are not appropriate, then an actual, living, breathing flesh-and-blood trans person must also not be appropriate."