MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (7News) — On one side of the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting room Thursday parents held signs demanding religious liberty. Facing them were parents holding rainbow flags. Each brought a message to the Board.
David Thompson says he doesn’t want his children exposed to LGBTQ+ inclusive materials.
"I think a lot of things that were talked about in that room are just not appropriate discussions between anyone but a family and a child," Thompson said.
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Dennis Williams says he is the father of a transgender child and just as firmly holds the opposite belief.
"I want him to be represented in books and classes just like every other minority is," he said. "It's important for his education and everyone else’s education."
At issue is an LGBTQ+ inclusive list of textbooks adopted by the school board in January, as well as a decision not to notify parents when lessons using the materials will be taught or to allow them to opt out of the instructional materials. The decision's drawing criticism and support.
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"I don’t think its appropriate for a teacher to be talking to a kid instead of their parent about their identity, especially their sexual identity," Thompson said.
Parent Carla Morris believes students should learn about those who may be different from themselves.
"I think it is very difficult to argue effectively that you can opt out of humanity," she said. "These children are here and we need to be inclusive and warm and welcoming to everyone."