A middle school near Portland allowed students to skip class to watch a TV show about a transgender child.
Students at Twality Middle School in the Tigard-Tualatin School District skipped class to watch “First Day,” a TV series about a 12-year-old boy who identifies as a girl.
The TV-watching session happened during the middle school’s “Transgender Awareness Week” held from November 13 to 19. Students skipped their last two class periods that Friday to watch the show’s first two episodes.
The school will eventually play the entire series, Twality said in one of several PowerPoint presentations shown to students, according to a public records request viewed by The Daily Wire.
“Transgender Awareness Week” involves “educating the public” and “standing up for and with Trans people at Twality,” the presentation said.
The week of gender-focused events and activities had a significant activism component, encouraging students to organize events, recruit volunteers, and create visual displays.
In the mornings, the middle schoolers learned about transgender history, pronouns, and what it means to be an “ally.” During lunch, they could opt in to other activities including a pizza party for making posters to be displayed in the school hallways to “show our support for trans people everywhere.”
Parents were alerted about “Transgender Awareness Week” beforehand and given instructions on how to opt out their children, which some parents did, Traci Rose, director of community relations for Tigard-Tualatin School District, told The Daily Wire.
Asked why the presentation to students only mentions a permission slip signed by a teacher, Rose said that in order to watch “First Day,” students were required to show both a permission slip signed by their parents and a slip signed by their teacher saying they had finished their class work.
Twality Middle School Principal Susan Kosmala wrote in a message to parents that “The purpose of this week is to celebrate transgender students in our communities and schools, as well as educate our community about how to be an ally to transgender communities.”
“Medieval Europe had a LOT more pronouns than we typically use now!” reads another message to families.
The middle schoolers were taught to “educate don’t hate” and to use people’s preferred pronouns and apologize when they “misgender” someone, according to one of the presentations to students.
“Don’t ever joke about your pronouns if you aren’t sincere about it,” reads one presentation.
Students were also taught that children as young as 5 “have feelings about their gender identity” and that “respecting someone else’s gender identity does nothing to take away from who you are.”
“There are actually over 78 gender identities that have been around forever!” reads one presentation.
Suicide was a recurring theme in the school’s presentations to students. The middle schoolers were taught that accepting and supporting a trans-identifying person’s identity makes them less likely to die by suicide.
Students were warned that they would be sent away if they do or say things that are “harmful to the community.”
“You will be asked to leave the room and head to the office to do the Morning Meeting work with an adult,” one of the presentations reads.
A district source who requested anonymity told The Daily Wire that several Twality staff members were frustrated that the “First Day” viewing cut into class time.
“The teachers are working hard to try to get their students back on track from COVID … and then they’re losing class time for not research-based material, stuff that’s contradictory. It’s from a biased viewpoint,” the source said.
The source added that like many school districts, Tigard-Tualatin has seen an increase in trans-identifying students over the last few years. Teachers at Twality are sometimes “coached” not to inform parents about their 11 or 12-year-old’s new gender identity, the district source said.
The Oregon Department of Education’s guidelines state that school staff should “to the extent possible” refrain from disclosing a student’s gender identity to their parents without the student’s permission.
Tigard-Tualatin has also allowed trans-identifying students to use whichever bathroom they prefer since at least 2013.