mother and child holding hands
I Thought Our School Was Safe

January 11, 2023

By Charlotte Lawrence |

During the 2021-22 school year, I’d been hearing about parents finding books and materials on gender identity at their children’s school. I thought that would never happen at my kids’ school. We live in Chandler, part of Chandler Unified School District (CUSD80). Our district ranks an A+, as well as our school, Carlson Elementary. Andy Morgan, the principal, was fairly new in his role, and I had always thought he did a good job.

However, my mommy instinct kicked in, so I decided to have a talk with my son. Eli is 11 years old and watches out for his two younger sisters who are ten and nine. My son is a pretty mature kid and hears everything. I told him at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year to let me know if he sees people using the wrong restroom, if he hears of confusing pronouns, or if he reads anything regarding sex education. I told Eli he needs to be mommy’s eyes and watch over his sisters like he typically does.

In late July 2022 (in school for maybe two weeks), I picked up the kids from school, and my son told me about a book he saw in the library that day. He said the book was on display in the library, and it was called “George.” Eli said, “I picked it up and read the back and saw it was about a boy who wanted to be a girl…. Mom, I think it was like those books you told me about.” He had not checked out the book, so I asked him to the next time at the library. “Check out the book, but don’t read it. Bring it home, and Mommy will let you know,” I told him.

The following Monday, at school pick-up, my son handed me “George,” by Alex Gino. After dinner I read every page, and I couldn’t sleep that night. I was shocked! This book was not only IN a school library, but it was even FEATURED on display! In short, “George” talks about hormonal medication, surgeries, keeping secrets from parents, PORN, and a lot more. I was livid.

The next morning, I emailed Principal Morgan with screenshots of the front and back of the book. His response was that he was out of town for a week but asked if I’d like to speak to the Dean of Students, Bridgett Matson, or wait until he returned. Mr. Morgan did acknowledge this book should not have been in the library. I asked him to please have Mrs. Matson reach out to me. I heard nothing. I waited a week and finally was able to set up a meeting with them both. During that week, the photo I had of the book circulated on social media. I wanted parents to know that this issue is real.

At the meeting, the principal apologized for the book getting into my son’s hands and asked how Eli found the book. He mentioned the backlash he was getting from other parents in the school and community. Mr. Morgan assured me that for years he’d gone through every single book in that library because they were making sure these books weren’t there. I advised him that there are at least 3 more books like this in his library. (A friend of mine gave me a website, gofollett.com, where you can see all the books in school libraries.) The principal bit his tongue. I then asked him, “Doesn’t this book break the sex education and parental consent laws?” He didn’t know.

Then he asked what I wanted to be done about this. I said, “I want this reported to the School District, and for these books to be removed from each elementary library.” To his credit, Mr. Morgan took responsibility and apologized again. But he then added his frustration at getting emails calling him a ‘groomer,’ as if expecting me to apologize.

The following monthly Chandler Unified School Board meeting, I spoke and read straight from the book hoping that the board members would realize the impact of this book on children. I advised the board members that if I were to hand this very book to a child on the street, I would be arrested. The next day I started getting texts from friends letting me know that CUSD80 board member Lindsay Love was posting pictures of me and attacking me on her social media. I wasn’t going to let this go. I went to the district office to complain and was told there wasn’t anything they could do to help me because Lindsay Love is an elected official.

At that moment I finally accepted reality. My public school, which I had always loved, was no longer a safe place for my kids—or our family. Homeschooling was the best option for us, especially with the help of the new ESA program.

I want all parents to know—it’s time to start paying attention, not only to the teachers and classwork, but the principal, the district board members, and the Superintendent of Instruction. When the book came home and was in my son’s hands, I needed to know who to go to. First the principal, then who is above? The district. Once I knew the district wouldn’t help, then who? The Superintendent, who at the time had a ‘Q chat’ space on the Arizona Department of Education’s website. Then where to go? I was told to contact my local legislator. At that time, we had a leftist woke legislator as well. So where do parents turn when no ‘official’ is left?

This is why local elections are critical. We need to pay attention to the people running for these offices. But even before election season, NOW is the time to find good people to run for office. It starts at a local level. As parents, we need to pay attention to everything these days. Read everything your child brings home. Get involved in the class if at all possible. Ask teachers for learning lessons. Find out what curriculum is being used. Most importantly, have open communication with your children.

We parents are the ones in charge of our kids’ education, health, and safety. Maybe our school teachers and administrators will finally accept that fact when enough of us start showing up.

Charlotte Lawrence is a 41-year-old stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. Her ultimate goal is to help bring awareness to parents about what their children are learning and to help protect our children’s innocence.

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