Gov. Janet Mills speaks Saturday, May 21 during the Democratic State Convention at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Credit: Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald via AP

A teacher whose controversial lesson plan was removed by the state last week is defending her work, saying the governor and the Department of Education caved to pressure.

The LGBTQ-friendly lesson that former Whitefield teacher Kailina Mills created for kindergarten-level students is at the heart of a Republican attack ad against Gov. Janet Mills.

It was one of more than 400 videos uploaded to an online resource hub during the pandemic and was considered “optional” for remote learners. It focused on freedom holidays, as well a discussion around sexual identities.

Right after the political ad started airing, the Department of Education found the lesson was not appropriate for kindergartners and pulled the video from its website, saying in a statement that it “should have received further review by a DOE specialist overseeing the kindergarten team.”

But now Kailina Mills is firing back.

“The most disappointing part of all of this is that the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and Mills administration caved to pressure instead of standing up for some of the most vulnerable people, families, and students in Maine,” Mills said in a Facebook post.

Mills, who is not related to the governor, went on to say she has taught preschoolers who are transgender and non-binary.

The Department of Education said it isn’t able to track how many teachers used the lesson plan while it was available.