gender-identity-assignment-creates-controversy

Gender identity assignment creates controversy

Lifestyle

OLATHE, KS (KCTV) — A class assignment at an Olathe school about gender identity is sparking concern on both sides of the political spectrum.

Now, a local LGBTQ task force has called an emergency meeting over that and four other recent school-related incidents metro-wide.

The worksheet passed out in an Olathe high school class is titled “The Gender Unicorn.” A photograph of the worksheet was sent to us by Kansas Rep. Adam Thomas, who was upset when his child brought it home from a 10th grade class on Tuesday. The Republican lawmaker took issue with the subject matter.

“Let kids be kids,” he wrote in a statement. “Whoever they decide to be is fine, but the classroom is not the place to push this ideology onto them. That’s at home with their family or with a school counselor. I applaud the school district’s rapid response.”

A district spokesperson sent a statement saying it was not part of the approved curriculum and they are working with staff to be sure it’s not assigned again. The main reason the district considered it inappropriate, however, was with the participation questions at the bottom of the worksheet.

“This worksheet was not appropriate for students and asked questions that could violate their personal privacy rights,” the district statement read in part.

For example, one of the questions asked: “Do you know your gender identity or are you still in identity confusion mode?”

LGBTQ activist Justice Horn’s concern was similar. The questions at the end, in his opinion, are prying into what some students consider private. Horn serves on a 13-person LGBTQ commission established by the City of Kansas City.

“People are trying,” he said of some teachers and administrators. “They have good intentions. What we’re here to do is further educate so that we’re hitting the mark on these issues.”

What worries him more is what KCTV5 reported happened on Monday at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy High School, a KCPS school. A 10th-grade teacher there was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation of claims that he disparaged LGBTQ and Muslim students in class.

A KCPS spokesperson said they were notified during class by a student, sent an administrator into the classroom to observe, then removed him from the classroom immediately.

Horn said the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission has documented five cases of concern across the metro in recent months.

In addition to the classroom assignment in Olathe and the teacher’s remarks at Lincoln Prep, Horn described the following:

  • A report the commission received of an LGBTQ student in Kansas City assaulted by another student off campus.
  • An LGBTQ student bullied by fellow students at school in Lee’s Summit, reported by the Kansas City Star in early October.
  • A policy at Independence schools that could out students to their parents, detailed by the Kansas City Star Editorial Board in September.

“If a student wanted to have a specific name or pronoun, they would run it by their parents,” Horn summarized.

He would not go into further detail about the alleged assault.

The Kansas City LGBTQ Commission meeting will be held Monday at 8 p.m. via Zoom. Public comment is welcomed.

The Olathe School District’s full statement is below:

“Earlier this week in a high school Human Growth and Development class, a worksheet was handed out to students that Olathe Public Schools does not condone and is not part of the district’s curriculum. This worksheet was not appropriate for students and asked questions that could violate their personal privacy rights. Students who received the worksheet have been asked not to complete it. The district is working with staff to make sure this worksheet is not distributed to any other classrooms and is not used in any instruction moving forward. While this worksheet was not appropriate in terms of the information requested, the district supports all students and strives to create inclusive environments where students can reach out to trusted adults for support.”

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