New Jersey
teacher's sex change worries parents

A New Jersey
middle school teacher who ended the academic year known as
Mr. McCaffrey plans to be back in September as Ms.
McCaffrey. However, some parents are questioning
whether children are mature enough to deal with her
sex change. "I feel it's unfair to put this on young
children," said Anna Marie Seavey, a mother of three who
would prefer that Kerri McCaffrey not be assigned to
the middle school. "It is unfair for us to have to
explain it."

The transgender
teacher, who underwent sex-change surgery in February,
says she's ready to continue helping children. "I just want
to be Kerri McCaffrey, a great teacher like I've
always been," the 41-year-old language arts instructor
told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "I'm a good
influence on children, and I've dedicated my life to
them."

Some parents,
such as Caren Cusano, are trying to educate themselves on
transgender issues. She said she sent an e-mail to McCaffrey
to ask for information and to "applaud" the teacher's
decision. "I said to Kerri that if we could have some
Web sites so we could explain it in layman's terms to
our kids, that would be great," said Cusano, whose
children are in elementary school.

McCaffrey, who
grew up as Herb McCaffrey, said she had struggled with her
gender identity since age 7. She married, had two children,
and taught for 12 years prior to undergoing the
sex-change surgery. Immediately afterward she still
went to school in a jacket and tie. "If I came out
with this in February, I wouldn't have been able to teach
because it would have caused such a commotion," she
said. "I could not be selfish and hurt the kids in the
middle of the year."

McCaffrey said
she felt summer would be a better time for students and
parents to hear about the surgery and come to terms with it.
Janie Edmunds, the district's superintendent of
schools, said she could not comment about McCaffrey
because personnel and medical issues are involved. "I
think it's fine," said Rebecca Tishman, who is going
into eighth grade and hopes to have McCaffrey as a teacher.
"I'm sorry that she was confused for so long." (AP)

Tags: World, World

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