Why don’t they just say children or students?
12 Steps on the way to gender inclusiveness, developed by Gender Spectrum, an organization that “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.” As a result of their new guide, a Nebraska school district has asked teachers to not address students by “boys and girls”, as it feels that by addressing students as ‘boys and girls’ they are making transgendered children feel left out.
Some of the helpful tips to avoid gender discrimination include asking students to make classroom names, and then address them on a whole as “purple penguins.” Furthermore, the document asks that teachers don’t ask their students to lineup by gender, but by their preferences. For example, to lineup if they like talking or listening, skateboards or bikes, stuff like that.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Teachers are asked to decorate their classrooms with “all genders welcome” door hangers, as well as ask students what their preferred pronouns are. If teachers feel that addressing gender is absolutely necessary, they are asked to list them as “boy, girl, both or neither.”
It gets more extreme.
If teachers overhear conversations using gender in terms of “Boys and girls”, they are to interrupt the students so that the pupils can learn that this is wrong. Teachers should ask questions, and provide counter-points to challenge what the student thinks they know about gender.
As you can imagine, this new method of teaching 8-year-olds is extremely controversial and many parents are outraged that their children are learning in this environment. At the same time, many people are pleased with the results.
The Superintendent of the school district in question, Steve Joel, stated that he is “pleased” with the training documents.
Is the school taking the gender issue too far? Should this be something that children learn from their parents, or is the school making the right step towards equality by doing this?
Update: According to Snopes, “The Lincoln school district has banned all reference to gender and discouraged use of gendered pronouns in favor of calling students “purple penguins.” Furthermore, everything mentioned above that seem like “rules” are more “suggestions” to help teachers better understand how they can improve the school environment. They were meant to be for the teacher’s eyes only.
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