Bixby withdraws from LGBTQ training for kindergarten teachers
The Bixby School District has waived providing online “professional development” training for K-2 teachers that would have included LGBTQ materials to “raise students’ awareness of their own identity.”
In a statement, Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller said that after “concerns” about the training were “brought to our attention”, school officials “decided that the district would not fund this program”.
“No contract was ever issued or signed. No money was spent. There was no board action as this was presented as a completely optional opportunity for teachers,” Miller said. “Bixby Schools will not be participating in the ELEVATE virtual conferencing opportunity.”
The Summer 2022 ELEVATION Online Conference offers teachers who teach students in grades two and below the opportunity to obtain professional development training through 26 sessions that will be available for 90 days during the summer.
The online conference/training is hosted by The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, an organization whose website includes the motto “Where mustaches, glitter and great teachers collide!” »
Although most sessions are recorded and available on demand, the program included two live sessions on June 15 and July 15 presented by the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools Program.
The Human Rights Campaign website states: “Our goal is to ensure that all LGBTQ+ people, and especially those of us who are trans, of color and HIV positive, are treated as full citizens and equals within our movement, across our country. , and all over the world.
The organization’s Welcoming Schools program webpage states that it provides “LGBTQ and inclusive professional development training, lesson plans, book lists, and resources specifically designed for educators and youth-serving professionals.” . Our program uses an intersectional and anti-racist lens dedicated to actionable policies and practices. The program’s stated goals include helping “transgender and non-binary students thrive.”
The welcoming schools website includes resources for teachers to define “LGBTQ+ words for elementary students.” This document defines “cisgender” as meaning: “When your gender identity (how you feel) is the same as the one doctors/midwives assigned to you at birth (girl/boy or sex assigned at birth) “. He defines “heterosexual” as meaning “people who identify as women who only like [or are attracted to] people who identify as men. Also, people who identify as men who only like [or are attracted to] people who identify as women. (Brackets in original.) The document states that seeing gender “as two distinct and opposing groups – girl and boy” is an idea that “does not include all the ways in which we can have gender identity and express our kind”.
The Human Rights Campaign reports that after receiving training on welcoming schools, 90% of educators “know how to actively support and affirm transgender and non-binary students.”
An endorsement quote from an anonymous parent on the Human Rights Campaign site says that with training from foster schools, her “gender non-conforming son can proudly wear a dress and express his authentic self” to the school.
Miller said the training would not have been mandatory for Bixby elementary teachers.
“The conference was originally offered as an optional summer professional development opportunity for a small group of teachers at one of our elementary campuses,” Miller wrote. “It was shared because there were many sessions focusing on early childhood literacy, classroom management and effective teaching strategies. The principal saw the potential benefit of providing her teachers with an easy-to-access online PYP focused on early primary education. Teachers were never expected to participate in the training, only if they had an interest in participating in their spare time during the summer.
After the ELEVATE training session gained public attention, Justin Cheatham, a member of the Bixby Board of Education, posted a message on Facebook saying he did not support the training and was unaware of its content. .
“I do not support training that would subject young children to subjects that are not appropriate,” Cheatham wrote.
He also said he was “grateful for the professor who brought it to our attention.”
“I personally had no knowledge of this PD until I received an email alerting me to the issue,” Cheatham wrote. “That’s why it’s important to me that our teachers feel comfortable bringing their concerns to our administration.”