He didn’t speak a word as she told him what the teacher had done to her 2-year-old boy. He was furious, but he didn’t show it on his face.
As soon as she was done rambling, he hung up without saying a word. He had to put this teacher in her place. He got up and approached his truck but driving towards the school.
Malcolm Bedford accepted his daughter for who she was, she could do no wrong in his eyes. He welcomed her partner, BaeLa, into their family with loving arms. He was just happy that his grandson now had two parental figures at home.
Although he was able to accept that his grandson had two mothers, he was not able to accept what his school was doing behind all of their backs. They took it way too far.
Kayla Bedford was a devoted and loving mom. She always wanted the best for her two-year-old son, Zach. That was why she was doing so much research when it came to finding him a school in the area of Wichita, Kansas. She finally decided on Bethany Early Childhood Center.
Her and BaeLa wanted Zach to have the very best start in life. The school had small classes and practiced solid Christian values. It seemed like the perfect fit for little Zach.
Zach was the only African American child in his group, but Kayla saw no problem with that. She made sure to sign the paperwork and get him enrolled into the school as fast and as soon as possible.
She would have never guessed what the school would do to her young child. It would cause a controversy with many parents.
Not So Smooth
Zach had been attending the school for a few months, and things seemed to be going perfectly. He loved his teacher and he had a lot of friends.
Kayla was overjoyed to have some free time at home, while knowing that her son was in capable and loving arms. But soon, she would discover that things were not going as smoothly as she thought they were.
What Are You Doing?
BaeLa was dropped Zach off at school and waving him off when she started walking back to her car. Just before she was about to leave, she decided to look back at him one last time.
She couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she turned back around to look at him. He anger immediately spiked as she looked at the little boy and his teacher. What was she doing? She had to tell Kayla immediately.
Kayla hadn’t felt this angry in a long time. All this time she had been worried that Zach wouldn’t fit in, but she never thought to worry about this.
They took it way too far. She wasted no time making her way over to his school. She stormed into the class, ready to confront his teacher, but she was completely blindsided when she entered the room. She could feel her anger increase by the second.
Earlier, BaeLa had caught the teacher putting her son in a dress. BaeLa expressed that she didn’t want Zach wearing dressed, but the teacher clearly wasn’t listening.
Because here he was, wearing the dress once again. Kayla wanted answers.
Kayla approached her son and pulled the dress from his body as she shook her head and spat, “We don’t do this!” She turned to the teacher and expressed her discomfort with what the teacher had done.
She laughed in Kayla’s face as she said, “He’s only two!” She wasn’t taking Kayla seriously, but Kayla knew who would be taken seriously.
Kayla’s dad, Malcolm, was an intimidating guy. He was 6 feet tall with muscular and tattooed arms. Everyone around town knew not to mess with Malcolm.
Malcolm was ready for a showdown. He would do anything to protect his family. This teacher had no idea what was coming her way.
Kayla called her dad and told him everything. She was furious, and the teacher obviously wasn’t taking her seriously. “A dress! A dress, dad!” she yelled.
“Please come,” she pleaded. Malcolm hung up and got into his truck, getting angrier by the minute. Nobody messed with his family. They didn’t call him the “Wichita Mangler” for nothing.
Malcolm pulled out his phone, hit record, and burst into the classroom. The teacher’s jaw hung open as he began to confront her.
“My daughter called me and told me she had an issue here about my grandson being in a dress,” Malcolm tells the teacher. “I’m trying to see what the issue is about.” The woman stammered that he’d have to speak to the school’s director, but he was having none of it.
We Don’t Do That
“I come down here because we don’t do that transgender and all that,” Malcolm tells the teacher. “We don’t do that.” But the teacher’s reply sent him reeling.
“He’s two,” she insists. “I don’t appreciate you encouraging him to put on no dress, for a second time too,” Malcolm yells. “And don’t think this is going away, I’m going further with this. The next time you put any kid in a dress, we’re going to make you go viral.”
Malcolm uploaded the video to Facebook, where it quickly gathered traction. The video clip had been viewed more than 22,000 times just a few days later! It wasn’t long before Malcolm found himself in the middle of a heated debate online. But why all the controversy?
“I am a lesbian, but I don’t push my son in any direction,” Kayla explained. “Whatever he decides to do or wear in the future is his decision.” However, netizens who heard about the story were divided.
“You can hear the teacher say “he’s two,”” one Reddit user wrote. “I work in a preschool with 2’s and I can tell you that in the dramatic play area we have all types of clothing. To them, it’s just clothes. It doesn’t represent gender at all. They are two.”
Another wrote: The staff shouldn’t be putting kids in dresses. People will look at this as transphobic but any parent can argue not to dress their kids up like this.” What do you think?
“It’s hard to actually know what went on but I’d put a little boy in a dress if that’s what he wanted,” wrote one Instagrammer. “My son has worn princess dresses with his sister … it’s called dress-up. Relax.”
And, according to pediatrician Jack Maypole, playing dress-up is a popular game – even among young boys.
Exploring Gender Identity
Pediatrician Jack Maypole advises parents that playing dress-up is a useful tool that helps children explore their gender identity – and it’s completely normal for children to dress up as the opposite sex.
And, according to a study, playing dress-up isn’t just helpful for exploring gender identity, it helps children learn about empathy as well.
Clothes Don’t Make The Man
“This is a very common behavior, and again, it’s a step in kids’ figuring out gender identities: Before about age 4, children may be able to identify a picture of a person as either male or female,” the pediatrician explained.
“But they may think that if the subject changes clothing or hairstyle, he or she changes sex as well. Dress-up helps kids test out theories and arrive at a more mature understanding that clothes don’t make the man (or woman).”
However normal dress-up maybe for young boys, Kayla still feels like her feelings on the matter were completely disregarded.
And there still has been no reasonable explanation from the teacher as to why her son was wearing a dress on not one, but two occasions – even after she was warned about it. But there was another reason why Kayla was angry about the situation.
Worried About Discrimination
Kayla is concerned because her son is the only African-American boy in his class.
She feels like he’s already vulnerable to discrimination from the other children, and seeing him, “parading around” in a dress might make the situation worse. Another concern she has is that the school seems to lack dress-up outfits for boys.
The School’s Response
“At Bethany Early Childhood Center we put our children first and foremost. We encourage our children to play in a Christ-centered atmosphere that we hope will allow them to gain confidence and learn to interact with others in a positive way,” a representative responded.
“Our primary responsibility is to our children and part of that is protecting their privacy, because of this we are unable to comment on specific incidents involving a child in our care.”
The Debate Continues To Rage
Meanwhile, on Reddit, the video continues to spark debate. However, because neither the school nor the teacher ever clarified why Zach was wearing a dress, it’s been difficult for people to pick sides.
Redditers are divided about whether boys should be allowed to cross-dress in school, but most agreed that Malcolm’s handling of the situation was just plain wrong.
“It’s not a matter of putting them in a dress, there are outfits in most pretend play areas including dresses and in most schools, you are legally not allowed to tell a kid “no you can’t wear or put that on,” one Redditer wrote.
“You’re right, the staff can’t force them to wear it and shouldn’t but I don’t think that’s the case, just how that man took it.”
“You do this again we’re gonna make this go viral” …yeah he’s an a**,” another user wrote.
“He doesn’t even know if that’s the woman who did that to his grandson and there is a way to handle situations when your upset without acting this way. He literally stood there and intimidated that woman in front of kids “no IM not done talking to YOU!” …I would’ve had him leave and not come back with his grandson.”
It Wasn’t Her Place
“The boy was two. The teacher remarks on that in the video. But by the time he’s four, he will feel out of place as a boy in a dress. Are you saying that’s not the case?” another Redditer argued.
“Oh, I know about the pink and the blue juxtaposition and the dresses for kids under 4. That’s not the case anymore and the issue is neither the grandfather’s fragile masculinity, but the child’s own comfort and welfare imo. And honestly, an even bigger issue is the teacher making grand life decisions for a child of two. It’s not her place to assign gender to a two-year-old, or four or sixteen.”