On June 9, 2022, The Livingston Enterprise reported that an East Side Elementary School librarian “violated school district policy last week when she showed an unapproved presentation about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community to third-graders.” The newspaper reported that Livingston Public Schools “received a number of complaints from parents.” Superintendent Lynne Scalia agreed with the concerns of parents and explained that the district had the librarian “discontinue it immediately when we found out about it.”
The news outlet continued to report that the librarian “presented the material to all of the third-grade students at East Side on Tuesday, May 31.” The title of the presentation was “PRIDE: A Celebration of the LGBTQAI+ Community.” The elementary school sent a letter to parents on June 3 that stated “the lesson was not part of the District approved curriculum and administrators only became aware of if after it had already been delivered to students.” The news outlet explained that the superintendent confirmed that a substitute librarian would operate the library for the remainder of the school year.
The Livingston Enterprise posted the presentation online. The second slide of the presentation features a Ted Talk from Lindsay Amer. She runs a YouTube channel titled “Queer Kid Stuff.” The “about” page on the YouTube channel states that the channel “brings LGBTQ+ and social justice media to kids and families.” In the Ted Talk, Lindsay Amer begins her speech by singing a song that starts by stating: “It’s okay to be gay. We are different in many ways. Doesn’t matter if you’re a boy, girl, or somewhere in between.” [Time Stamp: 0:05] She then discusses singing that same song to “kindergartners.” She also discusses making LGBTQ content for “literal babies.” [Time Stamp: 1:00] The video on the Ted Talk website has more than 2.5 million views. The video ends with Lindsay Amer stating:
Talk to a kid about gender. Talk to a kid about sexuality. Teach them about consent. Tell them it is okay for boys to wear dresses and for girls to speak up. Let’s spread radical queer joy. [Time Stamp: 7:10]
On the next slide, the presentation explains why June was picked for Pride Month and discusses the Stonewall Inn. The slide then links to a video where a narrator reads a book titled Stonewall. The video promotes how people who identify as LGBTQ, including transgender individuals and drag queens, used Stonewall Inn as a place to hang out with friends.
The next slide in the presentation is labeled “Rainbow Flag” and links to a video that details the history of the rainbow flag. The video is titled “The History Behind the Rainbow Pride Flag.” The video discusses how activist Gilbert Baker originally designed the flag in 1978 for the “San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.” [Time Stamp: 1:10] The video also discusses the “bisexual” and “transgender” flags.
The next slide in the presentation is labeled “Spotlight: JoJo Siwa.” JoJo Siwa is a celebrity known for pushing LGBTQ issues to children. The slide links to a video of her titled “JoJo Siwa On Her Decision to Come Out and Falling In Love With Her New Girlfriend.” The video features JoJo Siwa coming out as gay and her influence among young girls. In the video, she appears to tell children that they do not need family members who refuse to accept LGBTQ issues:
I also think that if somebody in your life, you know, isn’t going to accept you for who you are, isn’t going to support you for loving who you love, you might not want that person in your life. And that’s really hard because for a lot of people, that could be a mom. That could be a dad. That could be a grandparent. That could be an aunt, an uncle, a little sister, a little brother. [Time Stamp: 10:10]
The last slide of the presentation then just states “Love Yourself.” The following is the presentation that the elementary school’s librarian showed to third grade students: