Teacher could be fired for reading Aussie children’s book to class: ‘It’s disgusting’

Teacher could be fired for reading Aussie children’s book to class: ‘It’s disgusting’

A much-loved teacher in the US is facing termination following a complaint from a parent about a book she read to her primary school children.

Katie Rinderle purchased My Shadow is Purple by Australian author Scott Stuart at the school book fair before reading the story to her class. The story centres around a non-binary child who doesn’t identify with being a boy or a girl.

According to the author, the award-winning book “considers gender beyond binary in a vibrant spectrum of colour”. It’s about “acceptance and inclusion”, Stuart said.

Rinderle, from Georgia, has been put on leave while an investigation is carried out with claims she broke the state’s Divisive Concepts Law, which prohibits educators from teaching divisive concepts, particularly about race. However, her lawyers argue the law passed last year mentions nothing about gender or sexuality.

US Teacher Katie Rinderle  after reading children's book My Shadow is Purple.

US teacher Katie Rinderle is facing termination after reading the children’s book My Shadow is Purple. Source: ANF

Aussie author defends book

After hearing of the incident, Stuart defended his book on social media addressing claims made by investigators that it refers to “pornographic” and “inappropriate topics”. “This whole thing just goes to show how much more interested the school system in the US is in playing politics than it is in teaching kids. It’s gross, it’s disgusting,” he said.

He reiterated the story’s meaning, “acceptance and inclusion” and said, “there is nothing sexual or pornographic about the book”.

Teacher fights allegations

The teacher — who “gets phenomenal feedback” about her “transformative” teaching style — is fighting her termination and is working with a union to keep her job.

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“Censorship is not only a threat to our students, teachers and public school classrooms — but to our democracy,” Rinderle’s since said of the incident. “It’s so important to teach children to be supportive of each other, true to each other and to themselves.”

Her lawyer Craig Goodmark said “none of the reasons given by the district for Katie’s termination are based in fact or are sufficient to justify the termination of this exceptional teacher,” according to US reports.

Australian children's book author Scott Stuart defending book My Shadow Is Purple

Australian author Scott Stuart defended his award-winning book online. Source: Instagram

School says its action is ‘appropriate’

The Cobb County School District has since released a statement saying it’s “confident” that the action taken “is appropriate”.

“The District remains committed to strictly enforcing all Board policy, and the law,” it said according to Fox5 news. “However, as this matter is ongoing, further comment is unavailable.”

Stuart previously revealed that his book has been banned in some US states including North Carolina and Texas.

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  • June 25, 2023