A Virginia mom is speaking out after she says a local public school teacher read a gay rights “children’s book” that included slights against religion to her 7-year-old daughter's classroom without parental consent.
WRIC reports Culley Burleson was outraged after the book “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and The Rainbow Flag”was read openly in Henry Clay Elementary School in Hanover, Virginia, to her daughter’s second-grade class without her knowledge. The book, described on Amazon as "a story of love, hope, equality, and pride," details the tale of LGBT activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, and reportedly includes cartoon illustrations of protesters holding signs like, “Gays must go” and “God says no."
Burleson, a person of faith herself, said her young daughter came home confused and full of questions about homosexuality and God.
"That image was enough for my daughter to come home and question why God would hate anyone he created," she explained. "She has been told her entire life God doesn't hate anyone, love everyone, and if you don't understand something about someone pray for them, ask questions.”
The Hanover mom added that the book’s heavy subject matter, combined with its representation of people of faith, was simply too adult for 7-year-olds, and should never have been read to young students without their parents' knowledge.
“I don't necessarily have a problem with the book itself, it's the illustrations that my daughter questioned," she said.
"I want to see Hanover County's policy changed where parents are aware of what materials are going to be read in the classroom," she added.
Burleson said that when she complained to her daughter's teacher, she was told that the book was an appropriate part of a civil rights lesson. However, WRIC notes that when the news outlet reached out to the school, Henry Clay Elementary’s principal immediately sent out a letter to parents acknowledging that the book "was not vetted through the appropriate process at our school. It is also not an approved part of our curriculum."