Middle school teacher faces backlash after handing out gender identity worksheet

A California middle school science teacher was asked to stop handing out a worksheet titled, "The Gender Unicorn," provided by Trans Student Educational Resources, which explains gender identity, gender expression, and attraction.

Denair Middle School science teacher, Luis Davila Alvarado, handed out the worksheet on the first day of school to help students understand why they prefer to go by Mx., a gender-neutral title, instead of Mr. or Ms.

The worksheet, which allows a person to fill out how they identify their gender, how they express their gender, what their sex assigned at birth was, and who they are sexually and emotionally attracted to, was not an assignment and students were not required to fill it out.

The Gender Unicorn worksheet, provided by Trans Student Educational Resources, caused controversy at a California school after and seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher passed them out to explain why they preferred the gender-neutral honorific Mx. (Photo: Trans Student Educational Resources)

However, the second year seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher did not receive permission to hand out the worksheet. When the principal of the school, Amanda Silva, was making rounds during Alvarado's second period class, the teacher was asked not to hand out the sheets. Silva estimates that approximately 50 students received the sheet, according to The Modesto Bee.

Denair Unified School District Superintendent Terry Metzger said that gender identity is a topic, required by law, to be discussed in seventh- through 12th-grade health classes, not science classes.

“The principal and I have spoken with the teacher about why we believe this was a poor decision,” Metzger told The Modesto Bee. “Any discipline is a private matter between the district and employee.”

Superintendent Metzger tells Yahoo Lifestyle: "To clarify why we felt the handout was inappropriate, we felt it was not the right tool for the information the teacher was presenting, which was background information on the gender-neutral courtesy title of Mx. The handout appeared to ask students about their own preferences, which was not the purpose. Students were not asked or required to complete the handout and had the option of discarding it or keeping it after the teacher referenced it."

While only a "handful" of parents have called the school district to voice their concerns, users on social media have not been shy about sharing their differing opinions.

"Middle schoolers should not be asked by an adult who they are 'sexually attracted to' PERIOD," one woman shared in a Facebook comment in response to The Modesto Bee article. "First of all it’s none of their business, second of all this is a discussion between parents and children at their parents discretion. Crosses the line on so many levels."

"I'm sorry, what's the problem exactly? I guess this is a discussion that should be during sex ed, so if it's outside that scope then yeah, not the right time," another person shared. "It's a cute graphic to explain the different expressions of gender and sexual orientation, though."

One commenter posted: "As a parent protecting our child from anything is our job!! My child received this in school I would sue the County School District!!!!"

Another  wrote: "So the problem is that it came from a science teacher instead of a health/sex ed teacher? Kids are more sophisticated these days thanks to this age of information. I see no harm in educating them about diversity if it helps them be more open minded and understanding when they meet others who seem different to them."

A representative from Denair Middle School and teacher Alvarado did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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