There are people spreading ridiculous untruths about our schools and one local Superintendent is willing to set the record straight.

Are teachers and schools grooming our children to be liberals and gay? Are there schools allowing students to identify as cats, even allowing them to use litter boxes instead of the rest rooms?

"That's the most ridiculous question I've ever heard," said New Hartford Superintendent of Schools Dr. Coz Tangora, who was interviewed Monday on WIBX's Keeler Show. Tangora, who has worked as a school administrator, on several national committees, at the New York State Department of Education, and locally at Central Valley Academy and New Hartford - says there is absolutely no evidence of any of this ridiculous behavior here locally, around the state, or even around the country. "It's not true," he said.

The rumors of litter boxes in schools started on social media as a way to ridicule the transgender movement around the country. Facebook posts would read, "if a boy can identify as a girl, or vice versa, then a student could identify as anything, even a cat." That's when rumors of litter boxes started popping up on social media.

"Just think about it," said Tangora, who said he's told parents who ask him the question, how ridiculous the question really is.

New Hartford Superintendent Cosimo Tangora. credit: NHCS
New Hartford Superintendent Cosimo Tangora. credit: NHCS

Tangora also said, the schools and teachers are not grooming students towards any sexual preference. However, he said if a student identifies as gay or transgender, they should feel as welcome and safe in schools as all other students. Tangora said, it's about the importance of mental health, something we paid no attention to 20 or 30 years ago.

Another question Tangora vehemently pushed back on was, "Are schools teaching our kids to hate America?"  Tangora said, it's actually the opposite. He said there's nothing more pro-American than teaching our kids so that they can compete with students from around the world. He also stated the importance of teaching accurate history and to develop critical thinkers, who can ultimately perform as productive members of society when they grow up to be adults.

One of the more controversial topics was parental rights versus student rights.

Question: If a student discloses personal information including sexual preference to a teacher and asks the teacher not to share that information, under New York State Law, the school can not disclose that information. "I'm not going to disclose my personal belief about this one way or another because it doesn't matter," said Dr. Tangora. "My job is to follow the law, period."

Tangora said there are certain factors involved that give the school some discretion. For instance, is there a mental health danger? Additionally, the age of the child also plays a major role in how a school handles a situation. He said, a student might not want a parent to know about his or her sexual persuasion because of how a particular parent might react or what they might do. Ultimately, he said, our job is to look out for the well being of the student, and that issue is covered under New York State Law.

Tangora also confirmed however, that for example, if a student wished to transition - the school would not help initiate the process.

"Ultimately," said Tangora, "we always want to be working with the student and the parents when possible."

Listen to the complete interview with Dr. Tangora below.

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