Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, May 12, 2023



Hamilton County, Tennessee has found itself at the center of a national controversy over a Mother's Day reading lesson. It seems that a group called Hamilton County Moms for Liberty took issue with the lesson, claiming that it promoted what they called the "homosexual agenda." 

The lesson, which was designed to include students who didn't have what is considered a "traditional" mother, was planned by Caroline Mickey, a librarian at Alpine Crest Elementary. Mickey planned to read two books to kids between kindergarten and second grade: "Stella Brings the Family," about a girl's awkward feelings about a Mother's Day celebration because she doesn't have a mother (she has two fathers), and "Mother Bruce," about a male bear who adopts a gaggle of goslings who think he's their mom.

But Moms for Liberty was having none of it. They claimed that the books were inappropriate for young children and that such topics should be taught at home. "We can still meet our state standards and teach students about respect for each other without bringing in family structure dynamics," said Jessica Perkins, a member of the group.

However, not everyone agreed with Moms for Liberty. One father whose children attend Alpine Crest said the books were approved through the Hamilton County reading list and he was upset about the lesson cancellation. "If every book we read to them has a heterosexual, white man and woman that doesn't identify to everyone. This is 2023," he said.

District 6's representative, Ben Connor, also expressed disappointment with the cancellation. "I am disappointed that further discussion did not take place before it was cancelled. I plan to continue to listen to educators and parents and find the right course of action for our Hamilton County Schools," he said.

In the end, the school district decided to cancel the lesson, citing concerns from parents. But the controversy has sparked a larger conversation about inclusivity and diversity in schools. Should schools be teaching children about non-traditional families? Or is it up to parents to teach their children about these topics?

Caroline Mickey, for one, says her only plan was to use the books to teach children about families who may not have a mother. "I really wanted to highlight the role that mothers play and all of the jobs that mothers do that people might not normally think of," she said.

At the end of the day, it seems that the controversy over the Mother's Day lesson in Hamilton County is really about much more than just a few books. It's about how we define families and what we teach our children about diversity and inclusivity. As we move forward, it's important to remember that every family is different and every child deserves to see themselves represented in the books they read and the lessons they learn.