In February 2022, the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School (LAMB PCS) sent an email to parents celebrating Black History Month by promoting “Queer Affirming” and “Transgender Affirming” books for students to read. Both topics are part of the Black Lives Matter at School “13 Guiding Principles.” LAMB PCS is a school that claims to educate “PreK3 through 5th-grade students from all D.C. wards and backgrounds.” The school appears to be giving students lessons each week for Black History Month with the second week featuring “Queer Affirming” and “Transgender Affirming” topics. The email explains that “our community continues participating in several lessons and activities to continue the celebration of Black History Month.”
For “Queer Affirming,” the school’s email states that “everybody has the right to choose who they love and the kind of family they want by listening to their heart and mind.” The email then promotes the books Julian Is A Mermaid and Why Do I Have Two Mommies? For “Transgender Affirming,” the school’s email explains that “everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind.” The email further explains that “everyone gets to choose if they are a boy or girl or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.” Books promoted as “Transgender Affirming” are When Aiden Became a Brother and My Rainbow. Both books feature young children transitioning to another gender.
The school’s website features a blog titled “Conversations With Children About Race & Identity” that appears to be written by a teacher. The author of the blog states that “it’s critical [for parents and educators] to step outside our comfort zones and engage in conversations to raise race-conscious individuals.” The author then takes the conversation a step further:
Before we start discussing race with children, we must first be aware of our own biases. Children are highly observant and pick up on adult facial expressions, mannerisms, actions, and conversations. We must consider if we are living our lives as anti-racist individuals. Ask yourself: Am I modeling how to be a true ally? Are the books that I read diverse? Are my news outlets and social media platforms diverse? Do my friends and colleagues represent diversity? After addressing our personal biases, we must more fully understand and educate ourselves on the history of racism and the histories and identities of people of the global majority (PGM). PGM refers to non-white individuals, including the Black, Indigenous, Asian & Pacific Islander, Latinx, Indian and Arab communities and represents over 80% of the world’s population.
The author of the blog then states that parents should teach their children about racial differences among people: “Parents who use the colorblind method avoid having conversations about race and preach that skin color does not matter and that children should see individuals as the same. This approach is detrimental because it does not acknowledge the fact that people have differences.” The author then explains that teaching children about race is especially important for the parents of “white children.” The author also supports teaching students about race in the “school’s curriculum.” She advocates for teachers to “reconstruct” what she calls “white man’s history”:
In classrooms, I challenge teachers to reconstruct the story of America’s history we were taught in school — i.e., white man’s history — to provide our students with a greater perspective beyond this narrative. As educators, we must take the time and effort to learn the identities and histories of PGM to better inform and educate our students. I challenge you to continue having conversations on racism with your students to help normalize the topic.
On November 30, 2020, the school’s chief of staff published a blog detailing the school’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan.” The chief of staff outright states in the blog that the school will “work with our community to intentionally build into our curriculum lessons on race, social justice, and equity at all levels and in all classes.” The chief of staff continued to explain that the school has developed “a year-long staff training plan on anti-bias and antiracism.” The school has also developed “an ambitious 3-year Lottery Outreach Project to increase the number of African American, Latino, and high-risk students at LAMB.”