School Learning App Promotes Radical Gender Ideology to Young Students

By Jackson Elliott
Jackson Elliott
Jackson Elliott
Reporter
Jackson Elliott reports on family-related issues and small-town America for The Epoch Times. His current focus centers around parental rights in education, as well as the impact of progressive ideology in curricula and transgenderism in youth. He can be reached at: jackson.elliott@epochtimes.us
December 1, 2022Updated: December 1, 2022

A reading software application used in schools nationwide teaches kindergarteners about little boys who wear dresses, little girls who use boys’ bathrooms, and pride parades.

Epic, a reading and learning app, has more than 40,000 books, 106 of which promote LGBT sexuality to children under 12.

In the book “Jacob’s Room to Choose,” a young girl and a boy try to use opposite-sex bathrooms. When their classmates stop them, the teacher corrects the students. She tells them boys can have long hair and wear dresses, so no one should say who can use which bathroom is correct.

“Everyone has to use the bathroom, right?” the teacher in the book reasons to her class.

Epoch Times Photo
Newly donated LGBT books are displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond, Calif., on May 17, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“Epic is the leading digital reading platform—built on a collection of 40,000+ popular, high-quality books from 250+ of the world’s best publishers—that safely fuels curiosity and reading confidence for kids 12 and under,” platform’s website states.

Epic bills itself as a school learning resource and digital library for children and parents. It makes reading a game, allowing children to receive badges and achievements for reading books.

More than a million teachers have signed up so their students can have access to books on Epic.

But parents may not know that a number of these books promote the idea of identifying as the opposite sex to students as young as kindergarteners.

Teaching the GayBCs

Trisha Lucente, a Tennessee mom and the founder of activist group Parents’ Choice Tennessee, has been fighting Epic’s use in Williamson County public schools.

Parents’ Choice Tennessee discovered Epic was teaching children about non-heterosexual relationships when a 5th Grader told a mother in the group.

At first, it was hard to see what the app had on it, because the Epic school accounts children used were only open during school hours, Lucente said.

Epic’s business model gives the app to school districts for free, but charges parents for subscriptions to see more than one book daily.

“Several other moms and I tried to look it up and found out that we couldn’t see it,” Lucente said. “And then that Monday morning, at about 8 o’clock, it was turned on. I opened it up on my 5-year-old’s laptop.”

Epoch Times Photo
Parents’ Choice Tennessee founder Trish Lucente and her husband James Lucente. (Courtesy of Parents’ Choice Tennessee)

This makes it difficult for parents to supervise their children’s reading habits, Lucente said. Parents can’t look at an Epic online book as easily as they can leaf through a library book.

Lucente discovered that Epic offers children alphabet books such “The GayBCs,” and “An ABC of Equality.”

“An ABC of Equality” includes phrases such as, “L is for LGBT” or “P is for Privilege.” Another book featured a gay parade, she said.

Epic also includes titles such as “Rainbow Boy,” “Jack (Not Jackie),” and “Sparkle Boy.” All these stories tell about children rejecting their biological sex and assuming an alternate gender identity.

Other books include “Rainbow: A First Book of Pride,” “Sewing the Rainbow,” “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” “Prince & Knight,” and “Papa, Daddy, & Riley.” These celebrate LGBT ideology and depict LGBT relationships.

Better Education

Lucente brought the books to the attention of her school district and Epic.

“Some of these things like the Epic app are just introducing adults that are not parents [to teach] morals and values that should come from a family,” she said.

Epic removed “The GayBCs,” Lucente said. But it still offers access to over 100 LGBT-related books.

Even parents who approve of LGBT sexual identities may not want their children learning about those from online books in schools, she said. When children hear words like “lesbian” for the first time, they may ask their teachers for answers that could elicit a value judgment, she said.

“You don’t know if a teacher is going to say something crazy radical,” she said. A teacher may use that opportunity to aggressively promote the exploration of LGBT identities.

“But you also don’t know if a teacher is gonna say, ‘A lesbian is the devil,'” she said. “I don’t think anybody should want their child asking those questions to a teacher. And it’s not fair to the teachers, either.”

Moms for Liberty chapter leader Robin Steenman said organizations push LGBT books on children because kids quickly swallow information.

Epoch Times Photo
Robin Steenman, a Moms for Liberty chapter leader. (Courtesy of Robin Steenman)

“It’s a lot easier to indoctrinate a kindergartener than it is a college student,” she said. “If you do this in kindergarten, you’re gonna have a 99 percent success rate, because they’re just absolutely defenseless.”

Often, young childred have a shallow understanding of biological sex, said Steenman. If her kindergartner heard a term like “intersex,” he would lack context for it, she said.

“He doesn’t even know what sex is. Their understanding of relations between the sexes comes from Disney movies,” she said. “They’re just absolutely too young to digest any of this,” she said.

Advocates of introducing non-heterosexual behavior to children early argue that children with an LGBT identity need to feel included.

According to LGBT magazine Pride.com, LGBT characters in children’s books teach children tolerance, eliminate stereotypes, and give children who identify as non-heterosexual encouragement.

When children encounter books that discuss unusual sexual practices, it steals their innocence, Steenman added.

“Innocence matters,” she said.

When contacted for comment, Epic referred The Epoch Times to a post on its website about the company’s stance on “book bans.”

The post says Epic opposes book bans and screens its content with children’s book experts. Teachers and parents can block access to books they deem inappropriate.

“We understand that book bans stem from anxieties about what’s happening in the world, but we believe there is a better way,” Epic’s post reads.

Epic added that its platform “encourages acceptance, empathy and inclusion.”

Jackson Elliott reports on family-related issues and small-town America for The Epoch Times. His current focus centers around parental rights in education, as well as the impact of progressive ideology in curricula and transgenderism in youth. He can be reached at: jackson.elliott@epochtimes.us