A teacher at a middle school in Northern California triggered outrage from parents after he handed out a gender-identity graphic, allegedly to explain why he preferred to be called “Mx” rather than “Mr” on the first day of school.
Luis Davila Alvarado, who teaches seventh and eight grade science at Denair Middle School, used a “Gender Unicorn” graphic from Trans Student Education Resources to explain his choice of preferred pronoun to a group of children between the ages of 12 and 14.
Denair Unified School District Superintendent Terry Metzger told The Modesto Bee, “He gave a handout discussing gender in first and second periods. It was not an assignment and students were not required or asked to fill it out.” Metzger acknowledged that parents had not been notified by the district about the handout and Alvarado never asked for permission from the principal, Amanda Silva, but protested, “only a handful of parents have called to express their concern.”
As The Daily Mail noted, a stepparent of one student posted on Facebook, “The teacher said that because he was transgender and the kids had lots of questions, he thought this would be beneficial to them. Which is the most bulls— excuse I’ve ever heard. 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.”
Another parent commented, “Let’s say the kids are confused about what to call him/her. How in hell does this … clear up any confusion about him/her?!?! What a crock of s***!” One grandparent told Fox40, “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.”
Metzger added that Silva “happened to be in his second-period class as part of her routine visits on the first day of school. When she saw the content of the handout, she spoke with the teacher and directed him to stop distributing it.”
USA Today noted, “Metzger said about 50 students received the handouts before school Principal Amanda Silva stopped the distribution.”
Metzger also explained that although the law requires that gender identity is discussed in health classes, it is not discussed in science classes. She concluded, “The principal and I 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.”
Trans Student Educational Resources writes on its website:
Trans Student Educational Resources is a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment. In addition to our focus on creating a more trans-friendly education system, our mission is to educate the public and teach trans activists how to be effective organizers. We believe that justice for trans and gender nonconforming youth is contingent on an intersectional framework of activism. Ending oppression is a long-term process that can only be achieved through collaborative action.