A California middle school teacher told his students last week he is transgender and began handing out “Gender Unicorn” worksheets until he was stopped by an administrator.
Luis Davila Alvarado, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher at Denair (Calif.) Middle School, used the sheets as an ice-breaking “getting to know each other” exercise on the first day of school, The Modesto Bee reported. He also asked the students to refer to him as “Mx.” instead of “Mr.”
About 50 students got a sheet before the principal stopped Alvarado.
The sheet was produced by Trans Student Educational Resources and lists five categories: “gender identity,” “gender expression, “sex assigned at birth,” “emotionally attracted to” and “sexually attracted to.” Each category includes three choices (female/male/other, feminine/masculine/other and women/men/other).
This doesn’t mean, though, that gender identity is off-limits in Denair Middle School. Instead, it means the topic should have been discussed in health class, not science class, Denair Unified School District Superintendent Terry Metzger told The Bee. Denair is about 10 miles southeast of Modesto.
“The principal and I have spoken with the teacher about why we believe this was a poor decision,” Metzger said. “Any discipline is a private matter between the district and employee.”
The principal “happened to be in his second-period class as part of her routine visits on the first day of school,” Metzger said. “When she saw the content of the handout, she spoke with the teacher and directed him to stop distributing it.”
Parents and guardians were not notified of the handout or discussion, but several made their voices heard.
“I’ve talked to a lot of parents and a lot of grandparents and I know a lot of them have called the school and complained about it,” grandmother Tammy Stout told Fox 40.
One parent, Sonia Rush, wrote on Facebook, “I don’t care what you identify as, that’s your decision. But NO ONE has the right to ask my child these questions that have absolutely nothing to do with what you are teaching in a classroom.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Trans Student Educational Resources
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.