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It appears families in the Mount Vernon School District should be prepared to have their youngest children corrupted by the district. According to a newsletter, it appears a Washington Elementary counselor called Nicole Elliott will teach “guidance lessons” for Begindergarten, Kindergarten, first- and fourth-grade students.

Among the concerns is a book called “Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis. The lesson is on Compassion in Action – What is compassion and how do we show it?


The best way, apparently, is to use a book like this:

Lesson two for the Begindergarten and Kindergarten students will feature a book called Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. The topic is “being your true self!”


Lesson three will feature The Family Book by Todd Parr. The lesson is sharing our own families and celebrating the “many family structures.”

First-grade students will use a book called “Jacob’s New Dress” by Sarah and Ian Hoffman in a lesson focused on “kindness in school.”

First-grade students will explore “The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman in lesson three. The lesson is to “celebrate” many family structures.

Fourth-grade students will study what a family is and explore what makes their families special. They’ll study “gender stereotypes.” They’ll also examine MBTI Personality checks.

The newsletter states the district is an opt-out district, meaning if parents don’t want their kids to sit through this stuff, they’ll have to opt their child out.

The Iowa Standard has contacted Elliott asking for the criteria used to select the books used for the lessons and what books were considered but didn’t make the list over these books.

We will publish an update when we hear back from Elliott.

Author: Jacob Hall

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  1. Hello Jacob Hall, I’m wondering what books you suggest to celebrate family structures and to teach compassion. I’m so proud of our elementary counselor at Washington Elementary. Thank you for providing links to these valuable books.

  2. Jacob,
    As a teacher librarian as Mount Vernon MS and HS. I always suggest parents look up reviews of books that are being used in the classroom or that their child may choose to check out from the library. Common Sense Media is easy and has a clear structure it uses to judges a book; educational value, positive message, positive role model, violence and language. The summary is to the point and also gives a “stands out” for statement. Each book deserves its own evaluation and CSM says that the book “Jacob’s New Dress” stands out for positive message and positive role models.
    Allowing each parent to make the choice for their child is one of goals we hope all parents have the right to do. That is why this curriculum is an opt out – allowing each parent to make that decision for their child.

  3. I’m so happy that my kids attend Washington Elementary and have access to these high-quality, progressive lessons. I’m not sure what you are alluding to by calling lessons “corruption.” If my kids are exposed to stories with themes like the value of empathy, a culture of curiousity, and familial diversity, I know that our community will be better because of it. Keep up the great work Mrs. Elliott and all our excellent educators in Mount Vernon.

  4. As a proud resident in the District (whose three children graduated from Mount Vernon High School), a college professor, a licensed therapist in the State of Iowa and a director of theatre for and by young people for the past thirty years, I stand by the importance of allowing students to learn about others and themselves through the safety of art– to develop empathy, character, and compassion by reading stories, participating in theatre, attending plays and watching movies that bring us together by acknowledging and celebrating our similarities and differences.

  5. The opinion about transgender is not our opinion but that of God. Guiding people away from destruction is a loving act. Teaching, correcting are all loving acts. Imagine what a school would look like if all the children were free to do what they felt like rather than adhering to authority. God is the ultimate authority. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”

  6. What a great lesson plan. My kids went to Mount Vernon and had the chance to be taught and cared for by Ms. Elliott. They are the better for it. Thank goodness for these counselors and teachers!

  7. Jacob,

    Thank you for bringing attention to the corruption in our society. It is unfortunate and frankly quite selfish that grown adults feel the need to jeopardize a child’s self-image because it doesn’t match their own “personal ideals.” I am sorry that a child’s identity brings you discomfort. However, as a senior at Mount Vernon High School, I must be the one to bear the news to you. As a student here, I feel it is my responsibility on behalf of my classmates and the students and staff in the district to educate those who may have little understanding of how things work around here.

    Our teachers and counselors, including Ms. Elliot, do an amazing job of providing students with the resources and support we need to succeed, including books that teach acceptance of other genders and identities. Now, you may have grown up in a different environment, but here, we celebrate our differences, and certainly do not tolerate transphobia, homophobia, or anything of the sort. So if you are going to bring that kind of disrespect here, then I kindly request that you leave your “corruption” out of our classrooms, our district, and our community.

    P.S. Thank you for the book recommendations, I will surely add these to my list of books to share with my children in the future.


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