California Teacher Sparks Controversy After Discussing Gender Identity With Kindergarten Class

ROCKLIN, California  --  At what age do you talk to your child about gender identity? How young is too young? A lot of parents in Rocklin, California, didn't get a chance to answer these questions, and are upset after a teacher discussed gender identity to the students in her kindergarten class.

As CNN's Shirin Rajaee reports, the teacher spoke at a school meeting on Monday, where many of the parents were airing their frustrations.

"It was never my intent to harm any students. Only to help them through a difficult situation," she said.

The teacher defended her actions to read two books she says were given to her by a transgender child going through a transition.

"The kindergartners came home very confused about whether or not you can pick your gender, whether or not they really were a boy or a girl," said one concerned parent.

Parents say besides the books, the transgender student at some point during class also changed clothes and was revealed as her true gender, and many parents say they feel betrayed and blind-sided.

"I want her to hear from me as a parent what her gender identity means to her and to our family, not from a book that may be controversial," said a parent at Monday's meeting.

"My daughter came home crying and shaking, so afraid that she could turn into a boy," said another.

The issue was not on the agenda, so parents spoke out during Monday night's public comments.

"It's really about the parents being informed and involved, and giving us the choice and the rights about what's getting introduced to our kids, and at what age," said a parent at the meeting.

Many teachers also spoke out in support of what transpired inside the classroom on the last days of the academic year.

"Head in the direction of banned books or book lists or selected literature that should only be read inside or outside of a classroom, I think that's a very dangerous direction to go," said 7th grade teacher Kelly Bryson.

A petition has been circulating among some parents demanding the administration make more changes to its policies, including mandatory notices to parents about material that could be viewed as controversial.