The fine folks who run the school system in Lincoln, Nebraska, are on a campaign to make their classrooms gender-inclusive. And that means teachers will no longer refer to boys and girls as ... boys and girls.
"Don't use phrases such as 'boys and girls,' 'you guys,' 'ladies and gentlemen,' and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention," reads a handout from the Lincoln Public Schools that was given to teachers.
The handout was part of an effort to educate teachers and administrators about transgender issues, educators told the Lincoln Journal Star.
"The agenda we're promoting is to help all kids succeed," Brenda Leggiardo the district's coordinator of social workers and counselors told the newspaper. "We have kids who come to us with a whole variety of circumstances, and we need to equitably serve all kids."
So instead of asking boys and girls to line up as boys or girls, teachers have been encouraged to segregate the children by whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, or whether they like milk or juice.
"Always ask yourself, 'Will this configuration create a gendered space?'" the handout stated.
The handout, provided by Gender Spectrum, a website that "provides education, training and support to help create a gender-sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages" does not explain what to do if all of the children like juice or skateboards. But it does suggest teachers "create classroom names and then ask all of the 'purple penguins' to meet at the rug."
The Nebraska Watchdog website published copies of the handouts, titled, "12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness..."
The documents are chock-full of all sorts of advice for teachers as they deconstruct and reconstruct the notion of what constitutes a boy and what constitutes a girl. (To avoid offense, those terms will henceforth be known as the "b-word" and the "g-word.")
"Provide an opportunity for every student to identify a preferred name or pronoun," the document reads. "At the beginning of the year or at Back-to-School Night, invite students and parents to let you know if they have a preferred name and/or pronoun by which they wish to be referred."
Back when I was in school, teachers only asked kids if they'd like to be referred to by their first name or their middle name. Of course, I went to school during the Dark Ages.
The document also provides teachers with information to prevent kids from getting bullied on the playground. They suggest teaching kids to use phrases like, "Please respect my privacy" and "Hey, they're called 'private parts' for a reason."
Yes sir, that kind of tough talk should definitely dissuade the playground bullies.
Teachers were also encouraged to share anecdotes from their own lives "that reflect gender inclusiveness."
"Even better, share examples when you were not gender inclusive in your thinking, words or behaviors, what you learned as a result and what you will do differently next time," the handout states.
I wonder if teachers are allowed to opt out of that part of the assignment. Perhaps they could tell the kids, "They're called private parts for a reason."
Back when I was in school, the only thing the teacher did was read nursery rhymes—like "Rub-a-Dub-Dub." It was the Dark Ages, folks.
It was an incredibly insensitive time in our nation's history, when girls were girls and men were men (with respect to Archie Bunker).
To illustrate its point, the district provided an illustration of a gingerbread man. There I go again. How insensitive of me. It's a gingerbread person. But for the sake of the teachers, the illustration was called a "genderbread person." Clever, right?
The "genderbread person" was created by social-justice comedian Sam Killermann. Who knew there was such a thing? But word on the street is the social-justice people have quite the funny bone.
"Gender is one of those things everyone thinks they understand, but most people don't," Killermann wrote. "Like 'Inception,' gender isn't binary. It's not either or. In many cases it's both/and. A bit of this, a dash of that. This tasty little guide is meant to be an appetizer for gender understanding. It's okay if you're hungry for more. In fact, that's the idea."
So what are the b-words and g-words supposed to call Superman and Wonder Woman? Super Being and Wonder Entity?
And I suspect some schools will have to rename their athletic teams—like the Smith County Cowpersons.
As you might imagine, some parents are not all that happy with the gender-inclusiveness agenda. Rachel Terry fired off an email to other moms and dads accusing the district of social re-engineering.
The Journal Star obtained a copy of her email. She said the district was using taxpayer dollars to promote "the deconstruction of fundamental family and religious values."
In her defense, Mrs. Terry probably grew up in the Dark Ages, too—when little g-words wore dresses and little b-words wore Husky jeans.
One school district official rejected her argument and said it was not pushing a political or religious agenda. Nor was it pushing a sexual preference on people.
"Part of education in addition to academics is the feeling of welcomeness, the relationship piece," district official Russ Uhing told the newspaper.
In its quest for "welcomeness," perhaps the district could ban all homework and allow children to eat cupcakes in the lunchroom. I'm sure the b-words and g-words would feel mighty welcome with those changes.
Still, the folks at Gender Spectrum admit there will be times when teachers will have to use a gender-specific term.
"When you find it necessary to reference gender, say 'Boy, girl, both or neither,'" the handout states. "When asked why, use this as a teachable moment. Emphasize to students that your classroom recognizes and celebrates the gender diversity of all students."
And that, dear readers, is a glimpse into what they're teaching kids in public schools these days.
While we're on the subject, what's a gender-neutral term for morons?
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.
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