In A Gender Neutrality Effort, One School District Is Referring To Children As ‘Purple Penguins’

News & Culture Writer
10.09.14 30 Comments

A school district in Lincoln, Nebraska is requesting that its teachers eliminate “gendered expressions” such as “boys” and “girls” when referring to children, and instead have come up with a pretty unusual way of keeping things gender inclusive. This comes in the wake of gender equality efforts, not to mention more kids not identifying with their own genders — as you’ve no doubt seen stories like this passed around on Facebook.

The twelve step guideline was developed by an organization called Gender Spectrum, which claims to “provide education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.” Some of the steps include:

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.

“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.

The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”

“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m about as pinko-liberal as they come, but . . . Purple penguins? Why not just, say, refer them to as “kids?” For example: “Hey kids, come here.” “Kids, let’s meet on the rug.” “Attention children, please line up over there.” Wouldn’t calling a bunch of kids purple penguins or pink pelicans or whatever else alliteration of a color and an animal name you can come up with just confuse the hell out of them?

Then again, I’m neither a parent nor a teacher so what do I know. But it seems like this might make things pretty awkward once the kids hit health class or the locker room in middle school.

(Via National Review Online)

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