Fact Check: Are teachers preparing to instruct children that they can change their gender?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — There’s a string of Facebook posts circulating among parents in Spencerport about a controversial lesson plan. Are teachers preparing to instruct children as young as kindergarten that they can change their gender?
One of the posts being shared recently reports to be from a Spencerport teacher and says a lesson plan handed out to teachers encourages 5, 6 and 7-year-olds to change their identity.
“Spencerport parents, are you aware K-5 teachers were handed this lesson plan to teach children they can change their gender?” another post says.
News10NBC tracked down the lesson plan in question. It involves reading the book Red: A Crayon’s Story and is suggested for grade levels K-2. After reading the book, the plan calls for providing students an opportunity to share some of their identities, explore the concept of identity with students, and explore the concept of gender identity with students.
It’s published by welcomingschools.org. Welcoming schools is a professional development arm of the Human Rights Campaign, which dedicates itself to LGBTQ+ issues.
So, are teachers using the plan to encourage kids to change their gender? News10NBC contacted Spencerport schools directly. They would not make anyone available for an on-camera interview. But in an emailed statement, Superintendent Kristin Swann said the following:
“We are aware of the false assertions and wrongful claims from certain social media groups. We are not teaching students about changing their gender.”
While the district has not mandated the book, the district says some teachers have chosen to use it for a variety of lessons — including teaching self-awareness, individuality, and self-esteem.
The superintendent goes on to say their focus is on providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.
“We aim to accomplish that by having programs in place that encourage students to love who they are, accept differences, demonstrate acts of kindness, and build character.”
So when it comes to students being encouraged or taught to change their identities or genders — the district insists that claim is false.
Here is the complete statement from Spencerport Superintendent Kristin Swann:
“We are aware of the false assertions and wrongful claims from certain social media groups. We are not teaching students about changing their gender.
As an educational institution, our primary focus is on providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. We aim to accomplish that by having programs in place that encourage students to love who they are, accept differences, demonstrate acts of kindness, and build character. They do not “encourage students to change their gender”.
It is unfortunate that misinformation and misinterpretations can spread quickly on social media. That is why we encourage our community to seek accurate information, directly from reliable sources, such as school administrators. We are always open to discussing how we are providing the best possible learning experiences for our students.”