A California middle school teacher sparked controversy after handing out a gender-identity graphic to students on Wednesday.
Luis Davila Alvarado, a 7th- and 8th-grade science teacher at Denair Middle School, handed out a worksheet titled “The Unicorn Graphic” during the first and second periods of the day as a way to help students get to “know each other,” superintendent Terry Metzger told the Modesto Bee Thursday.
Apparently, Alvarado uses the courtesy title “Mx.” instead of the gender-specific “Mr.” and wanted to help students understand why.
The colorful graphic, which was created by the Trans Student Educational Resources to help children understand the concepts of gender identity, expression and attraction, was spotted during a routine class visit by principal Amanda Silva, who immediately ordered Alvarado to stop distributing it.
“It was not an assignment and students were not required or asked to fill it out,” Metzger reaffirmed of the controversial paper.
Although the superintendent said “only a handful of parents have called to express their concern,” one grandmother, Tammy Stout, told KTXL she was angry about the worksheet and knew of others who shared her sentiments.
“I 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,” Stout told the station.
In a comment thread on the Modesto Bee’s Facebook page, more parents and users sounded off about the Gender Unicorn graphic.
“As a parent, protecting our child from anything is our job!” one woman wrote. “[If] My child received this in school I would sue the County School District!”
“I am so glad to be an Oakland teacher, surrounded by socially progressive and inclusive administration…” another fired back. “The reactions to this by parents and the principal are really upsetting.”
One man, who identified himself as an educator of 23 years, said he believes Alvarado “went over the boundaries of the duties of a teacher.”
“Presenting this information when it is not part of the curriculum and without talking to parents first is unethical,” James Wentz, whose Facebook profile identifies him as an employee at Green Valley Ranch Middle School in Denver, Colo., wrote. “Teachers cannot just present any information they want to versus what they need to. Hope the school district is ready for lawsuits.”
It remains unclear if Alvarado was reprimanded over the incident, although superintendent Metzger told the Bee that she and the principal “have spoken with the teacher about why we believe this was a poor decision.”
“Any discipline is a private matter between the district and employee,” she added.
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