A concerned parent reached out to Parents Defending Education regarding her child receiving a Google form to fill out on the first day of class for eighth grade at E.T. Richardson Middle School. One question required students to identify their pronouns. The question asked: “What is your pronoun preference?” The options were “He,” “She,” or “They/Them.” The parent explained that the question was not optionable and that the form was not on the school’s Canvas platform.
After mentioning the problem to the school, she said that her child was provided with a paper form to complete. She explained that she was informed by the school that the online form would make the question optional, but she said that has not happened yet. The form also asks other questions to students, such as their favorite movies and songs.
The school’s district – Springfield School District – implemented a policy for “transgender” students on January 12, 2017. The policy explains that the district “is committed to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students that is free from discrimination, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression and to ensuring that every student has equal access to all components of the educational program.”
The policy includes definitions for the terms “gender identity,” “transgender,” “gender transition,” and “gender-segregated facilities.” The definition for “gender identity” explains that the term “refers to one’s internal sense of gender, which may be different from one’s assigned sex, and which is consistently and uniformly asserted most or all of the time, or for which there is other evidence that the Gender Identity is sincerely held as part of the individual’s core identity.” The definition for “gender transition” explains that the term is “the process in which transgender individuals begin asserting the sex that corresponds to their Gender Identity instead of the sex they were assigned at birth.”