Needham High School in Massachusetts has asked its biology students to stop using “gendered terms” in their speech. In a lesson on human genetics, the school taught students that gender refers to an individual’s “psychological sense of self” while asking kids to research “gender fluidity” in nature.
A biology teacher told students that human beings are “socially conditioned” to see sex and gender in terms of binaries. The teacher asked them to only converse in a language that does not have “gendered terms to talk about bodies.”
Only by doing so will people with diverse genders, sexualities, romantic orientations, and bodies be “respected,” the teacher insisted while calling the sole use of binary gender identities like male and female as marginalizing intersex people “who have been persistently discriminated against.”
Some students thought the lesson was aimed at teaching kids that the desire to change one’s sex is something common. The teacher even claimed that intersex people make up roughly 2 percent of the population, which is said to be equivalent to the number of people in the world who are born with red hair. In a statement, Erika Sanzi, director of outreach at Parents Defending Education (PDE), called the school’s lesson a “pseudoscience class.”
“The slides shared by the biology teacher are harmful and wrong because they are factually inaccurate, sow confusion, and rely heavily on regressive sex stereotypes… The claim that nearly 2 percent of the population is intersex is preposterous and deliberately deceptive — the actual number is .018 percent, or about one out of 5,000… Perhaps most absurd is the implication that biological sex in humans is fluid, or can literally change because it happens to be true of non-human species like clownfish and tree frogs,” Sanzi said.
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In an interview with Washington Free Beacon, the principal of Needham High School Aaron Sicotte stated that the school is “proud” of its curriculum and hopes that the lessons “appropriately reflect the needs of a diverse student body” as well as the standards, values, and high academic expectations of the local community.
Biology lessons taught at the school cover topics like human sexuality. If the parents find the topics uncomfortable, they can remove their kids from the lessons.
Back in September, Sicotte had triggered a controversy by introducing himself as a “white privileged straight man” on the first day of school. Most classrooms had doors covered with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “We Welcome Refugees,” and “Stop Asian Hate.”
The performing arts department promised to make all students “understand and respect diversity” as well as follow an “anti-racist culture.” The PDE accused the department of trying to turn students into activists.
“The performing arts department made it clear on day one, using a statement borrowed from the Lexington Public Schools, that they see themselves as uniquely situated to be societal change agents. They assert that it is their duty —as well as that of their students—to deconstruct the racism that is inherent in the Needham Public Schools (as well as in every aspect of society),” according to PDE.
Exposing students to sexual topics and attempting to shape their sexual identities has been a big topic in the country in recent years. One Californian mother is taking legal action against her 11-year-daughter’s school, accusing two LGBTQ activist teachers of secretly manipulating the child to think that she is a transgender boy. The teachers apparently gave the girl instructions on how to bind her breasts.
In an interview with Daily Mail, Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who is representing the mother in the case, stated that she has heard of similar cases from several parents.
“Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children… The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don’t-tell-your-parents clubs and don’t-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law,” Dhillon said.