Gender Identity Lesson Stirs Controversy at School

BETHEL, OR- A bit of controversy coming out of a Eugene, Oregon school, as some parents say they're upset after a sixth grade art teacher discussed 'gender entity' with her students, without consulting with parents first.

It's not your grandmother's fairy tale.

The 'Genderbread person' is a colorful graphic created to explain the complicated nature of gender identity.

A poster with the image was hanging on a white board in a classroom at Meadowview School.

But Bethel parent Derek Grafton says that's not what he was hoping his 6th grade daughter would be discussing in art class.

"I was honestly appalled. I'm not taking issue with the message, whether we as a family agree with that information or not, that's a different debate. My concern was how the information was presented," Grafton said.

Grafton says his daughter told him that another student asked about the poster, and that the teacher then engaged students in a long conversation about gender identity.

"I believe it's my wife and my job to teach morals, ethics and values based on what's important to our family, and I feel the school betrayed that," Grafton said.

The school district says that the poster, which is meant for training teachers, not students, was put up mistakenly.

"It's a device used in professional development to help staff understand gender identity and their roles and ensure that every student that walks through the class feels safe and valued by everyone else in that classroom," said Superintendent Colt Gill.

Gill says that the class discussion did not touch on sexuality, just identity.

The superintendent also says that gender identity discussions do happen at the request of individual students or in cases of bullying, and in health curricula.

"When we do our health classes in middle school and high school students and families are welcome to review the curriculum and families are welcome to opt out of that," Gill said.

The school has sent an apology to all Meadowview families, and says they are open to one on one discussions with anyone who is still concerned.