Citing “threats,” DeWitt Public Schools has pulled a gender sensitivity pronoun lesson scheduled for Schavey Road Elementary School.

The school announced the cancellation in a Friday Facebook post.

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No specific “threats” are mentioned in the post.

The cancellation was preceded by uproar generated by a letter attributed to Liz Crouch, principal, Schavey Road Elementary, and Shanna Spickard, superintendent, DeWitt Public Schools, the week before. In that letter, the women wrote: “We would like to inform you of a lesson that will be taught in your child’s classroom. The lesson goals are to help students share and explore pronouns through discussion and literature to embrace differences and promote acceptance.”

The letter went viral on social media, sparking angry responses that resulted in Spickard to cancel the component.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to update you regarding an optional mini-lesson outside our general curriculum we offered to students in one of our elementary school classrooms,” Spicard’s post begins. “The purpose of the mini-lesson was to promote greater understanding, compassion, and kindness regarding gender identity and the use of pronouns after concerns were brought to our attention. Parents and guardians were informed in advance and given the opportunity to opt out, as the lesson was 100% voluntary, and not part of our school curriculum.”
The post continues: “Since that announcement, several of our hard-working school staff members have received inappropriate, angry, and threatening phone calls, emails, and social media messages. Some staff members have had their personal information, including information regarding their families and children, placed online to harass and intimidate them, a cyberbullying practice called ‘doxing.’ While the vast majority of these inappropriate communications have originated outside of our community, several staff members have expressed feeling anxious, stressed, and even afraid to go to school. This is unacceptable. We are in contact with local law enforcement regarding these communications and have increased both police and administrative presence as precautionary measures.”

The lesson aimed at instructing elementary school students on gender ideology, and the lesson plan included:

  • Students listening to the book, “They She Me Free to Be” and participating in discussion about the book.
  • Students practicing using the pronouns “they/them” and what to do if they make a mistake with pronouns.
  • Students learn that it’s not ok to change someone’s pronouns on purpose and to always try to use the pronouns that people want to be called.

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The Schavey Road Elementary Public School Facebook page features many posts opposing the program, but none of them seem threatening.

Kyle: Don’t know how to clip some of the messages found here: