Aussie author defends teacher facing sack over non-binary book

Katie Rinderle is facing the sack over Scott Stuart's non-binary children's book
Images: YouTube, Scott Stuart/Instagram

An Australian childrens author has defended a US teacher who’s facing termination after she read his book about a non-binary child to her class.

Katie Rinderle, a grade five teacher in the state of Georgia, bought the book My Shadow is Purple at a book fair at her primary school.

But she’s now on administrative leave and facing the sack after she read the book to her class, at her students’ urging.

The story, by Australian author Scott Stuart, follows a child whose mum has a pink shadow and dad has a blue shadow.

But the child’s shadow is purple. By the end of the book the child discovers there’s “more than two colours our shadows can be.”

The teacher asked her students to reflect on “the power of not only embracing your unique differences and abilities, but valuing those in others and learning from those.” She also tasked them with writing their own “shadow” poem.

But now Katie Rinderle is fighting for her job as the school district investigates whether she’s violated Georgia’s strict “divisive concepts” censorship laws.

Rinderle has vowed to fight the termination and faces a hearing in August. Her lawyers have argued the school district’s claims don’t stack up.

And when Australian author Scott Stuart found out, he defended the teacher and his book and furiously dismissed suggestions his award-winning book is “pornographic” and contains “inappropriate topics”.

“This entire thing is so disgusting,” Stuart said in a TikTok video.

“To be very clear, there is nothing sexual or pornographic about this book. It’s a book of acceptance and inclusion.

“We need to be supporting teachers, not vilifying them.”

@scott.createsAnd the book was purchased AT THE SCHOOL at a book fair.

♬ original sound – Scott Stuart

Teacher who gets ‘phenomenal feedback’ facing the sack

In the TikTok, Stuart also showed examples of her students’ response to his book, as well as positive feedback from parents.

“This is a teacher who gets phenomenal feedback from the principal, her students, the parents,” Stuart said.

“This whole thing just really goes to show how much more interested the school system in US is in playing politics than they are in educating kids.

“It’s gross. It’s disgusting.”

The Cobb County School District has said in a statement it’s “confident” that the action taken is “appropriate”.

“The District remains committed to strictly enforcing all Board policy, and the law,” a spokesperson told FOX5 news.

“However, as this matter is ongoing, further comment is unavailable.”

Other US states have banned Scott Stuart’s inclusive books

In 2021, Scott Stuart went viral when he helped his son have the confidence to dress as Elsa from Frozen to the theatre by wearing the costume too.

His book My Shadow is Purple was nominated for a 2023 Australian Book Industry Award.

According to Stuart, his books have been banned in some US states including North Carolina and Texas.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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