The Orange County Schools system cancelled a public meeting planned for Thursday night over the reading of a gay fairy tale to third graders at an elementary school this spring.
The meeting, which was expected to draw hundreds of people on both sides of the issue, was not held because two appeals of a school review committee’s upholding of the book have been withdrawn, school officials announced Thursday morning.
“The book challenge process under Board Policy 3210 is concluded,” schools spokesman Seth Stephens said in a statement. “The decisions of the Media Review Committee are no longer under appeal.”
The statement did not say why the parents withdrew their appeals.
Omar Currie, the teacher who read the book, and Meg Goodhand, the assistant principal who gave him the book, have resigned from Efland-Cheeks Elementary School effective this month.
Currie had said he would be leaving the school because administrators did not fully support him after he read the book in response to a boy in his class being called gay in a derogatory way and being told he was acting like a girl.
“I am so appreciative of all those who stood behind me during this difficult time,” Currie said on his Facebook page Thursday morning. “The conversation must now shift to a global discussion on how we teach empathy. How do we as teachers fulfill our number one job and keep students safe?”
Goodhand has declined to comment beyond a statement she read at a review committee meeting in which she supported Currie.
The Efland-Cheeks review committee held two public meetings after receiving complaints. After both meetings, Principal Kiley Brown announced the school would allow continued use of the book, “King & King,” which tells the story of two princes who fall in love and get married.
But Brown also instituted a policy that requires teachers to notify parents of all the books they plan to read in the classroom, Currie said.
Brown has declined requests for comment.
Both decisions of the review committee were appealed to the superintendent, who appointed a district review committee. That committee met once and scheduled the public meeting that was to be held Thursday night. With the appeals withdrawn, Stephens said the committee will not meet.
“The specific challenge involving ‘King & King’ is finished, and the school-level decisions stand,” he said.