By Corinne Murdock |
According to one Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) teacher, some elementary schoolers may have worn pink, teal, and white to honor International Transgender Day of Visibility last week.
Coordinating educator Sarah Chunnui, a “resource teacher” for fourth and fifth graders and special education teacher at Desert Harbor Elementary School, submitted an email obtained by AZ Free News to notify staff of the unofficial holiday on March 31. A PUSD spokesperson told AZ Free News in a statement that Chunnui’s email didn’t receive approval from the Desert Harbor Elementary School principal, Becky Berhow, prior to its sending. PUSD added that Chunnui’s email didn’t say explicitly that she coordinated with students, but didn’t dismiss speculation that Chunnui may have undertaken coordination efforts.
“Hello Fabulous Staff,” began the email. “I just wanted to let you know that you may see our students wearing more pink, teal, and white today. Today is a quickly growing annual event called ‘International Transgender Day of Visibility.’ Our President is expected to make some announcements today on new legislature [sic] to protect the rights of Trans [sic] students, any [sic] many of our students have taken a keen interest in these legislative movements.”
Chunnui closed the email by encouraging staff to affirm the children of their activism.
“How can you help? If you notice a student purposefully wearing the colors of the trans flag, a simple ‘I see you’ or ‘I support you’ can go a long way. Thank you fabulous staff!”
In the signature line, Chunnui ensured to include her pronouns: “she/her” and “they/them.” She also goes by “Mx,” a title invented by LGBTQ+ activists signifying a “gender-neutral” individual who doesn’t identify as any sex.
In a response email submitted to the Desert Harbor Elementary School community, Berhow clarified that only staff received the email — not parents. Berhow characterized the email as Chunnui’s “personal views.”
“Today you may see a screenshot on social media of an email that was recently sent by one of our staff members regarding personal views on International Transgender Day of Visibility. While the message may get increased attention in our community, it was important to me that you know that the email was only sent to our staff and not to students or parents,” wrote Berhow. “At Desert Harbor, we pride ourselves on using our limited resources to directly support teaching and learning. Please know that not all messages you see posted are a representation of our school or district.”
Berhow encouraged parents to communicate with her and reach out with any questions on any matter.
State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) told AZ Free News that this was another example of improper educator behavior.
“No level of sexuality or lifestyle should be pushed onto little children. I don’t care if they are pushing for heterosexuality. Leave our kids alone. Teach them math, reading, and science,” said Petersen. “These actions are completely inappropriate as someone who is in a position of trust with our children.”
Previously, Chunnui was a resource teacher for kindergarteners to second grade students at Rogers Ranch School in Laveen School District, where Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) hails from. Chunnui joined Desert Harbor Elementary School in August 2019; she has been teaching for over 10 years.
AZ Free News reached out to Desert Harbor Elementary School and PUSD for comment.
In February, Chunnui hosted a read-aloud for Desert Harbor Elementary School, in which she read a book championed by left-wing activists as a destructor of gender norms: “Pink is For Boys.”
PUSD does have Gay-Straight Alliance, also known as Gender-Sexuality Alliance, (GSA) clubs at Sunrise Mountain High School, Ironwood High School, and Raymond S. Kellis High School. GSA clubs are the product of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization focused on the sexuality of minors — specifically, promoting and normalizing LGBTQ+ lifestyles. The Phoenix chapter of GLSEN advised K-12 educators last December to incorporate “secret libraries” in their classrooms to advance LGBTQ+ ideology.