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Maine school poster explaining gender identity faces backlash

The superintendent for RSU 9, also known as Mt Blue School District, looked into the poster and found nothing wrong. Community members on Facebook want it removed.

FARMINGTON, Maine — It's a national conversation making its way to school districts in Maine, outrage over schools' inclusion of LGBTQ-related material in classrooms and libraries.

The latest complaints come to RSU 9, also known as Mt. Blue School District, and its placement of posters explaining the differences in sexuality and gender identity.

Four to five community members complained about the posters back in August, which were made by OUT Maine, a nonprofit organization based in Rockland frequently used by the Maine Department of Education.

"These claims are not in line with biological science and should not be allowed in our Mt. Blue High School due to their political and misleading nature," an email from those community members stated, in part.

Superintendent Christian Elkington said immediately after the initial emails, he investigated the posters himself. He said two existed in the high school and one in the middle school.

He said the recent wave of backlash surrounding sexuality and gender material in schools indicated it may come to RSU 9 soon.

"We did not see that this was necessarily coming to us, but we would probably see something sooner than later," Elkington said. "Politically, religiously, this is a tough issue. Public school, though, is supposed to try and educate everyone and support all kinds of opportunities for discourse that's appropriate."

Despite the superintendent finding nothing inappropriate about the posters, he said community members organized on Facebook to send more letters to school board members.

NEWS CENTER Maine asked an admin of the Facebook page RSU9 Parents for Transparency and Truth if he or someone in the group could be interviewed on Monday, but the request was denied.

Elkington said he expects a significant number of community members that support or disapprove of the poster to attend the upcoming school board meeting on Tuesday evening.

Parents outside Mt. Blue High School on Tuesday had mixed opinions.

"My brother goes to the high school, and my sister goes to the middle school," Cameron Fitch said. "I really don't think it should be in schools. It's a personal choice, but I don't think it should be in schools."

Heather Guerette was waiting to pick up her child and said she supports the poster.

"My son is a sophomore, so he's at that age where he doesn't bring any of that stuff home. I think it's great, honestly. Get's more education out there, and kids are going to be who they are," Guerette said.

Elizabeth Montoya's child just started high school this month.

"Children come from homes where they have preconceived ideas about how to treat people. And sometimes that's not the greatest thing if it's coming from negativity, but I feel like bringing it to school, it's an iffy topic. I'm 50-50 on it."

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