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Calif. School Tells Elementary Students There Are More Than 2 Gender 'Options


"...there are different ways to be boys. There are different ways to be girls."

Who says elementary school is too early to start discussing gender issues?

This week, educators at Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland, California, are teaching young children all about the complicated world of "gender diversity." The school has designed curriculum for every grade level. Amid the resulting controversy, Principal Sara Stone is defending the initiative, claiming that it is in line with what parents want:

"If we don't have a safe, nurturing class environment, it's going to be hard to learn. Really, the message behind this curriculum is there are different ways to be boys. There are different ways to be girls."

A gender expert and trainer was brought in to speak to the children:

"[There's] a lot of variation in nature. Evolution comes up with some pretty funny ways for animals to reproduce. It turns out that there are not just two options."

The trainer also told the children that this diversity applies to human beings as well. It is this rationale -- that gender is pliable and that there are "more than two options" -- that has some people frustrated. The San Francisco Chronicle has more on the curriculum:

A one-hour elementary school lesson on gender diversity featuring all-girl geckos and transgender clownfish...fourth- and fifth-grade students learned about the crazy world of gender within the animal kingdom with lessons about single-sex Hawaiian geckos, fish that switch genders and boy snakes that act "girly."

Naturally, this has created an outrage. The idea that the school district would cover such complex issues with young children has led the conservative Pacific Justice Institute, among other groups, to get involved. According to The Washington Post, "Conservative legal defense organizations are providing counsel to parents who oppose the teaching at Redwood Heights by a gender spectrum trainer."

What do you think about this? Is it appropriate for this age group or not?

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