PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local lawmaker is investigating educational materials it says are aimed at young students to learn more about their gender and gender identity. It is called the “gender unicorn”.
State Assemblyman Aaron Bernstine said a slideshow featuring the gender unicorn was used during a seminar at a local college in Pennsylvania, where college students hoping to graduate to become teachers learned how to converse with children in kindergarten, first and second grade.
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“Five-, 6-, 7-, 8-year-old kids don’t need to see this at all,” Bernstine said. “It is very important that we ensure that this never reaches our children at this young age. This is totally unacceptable and we need to make sure we protect children in the classroom.”
Bernstine said the Gender Unicorn and Gender Person are intended to educate elementary school students about their identity as part of an anti-bullying campaign, according to some students at the seminar.
Bernstine said the material came from the Pennsylvania State Department of Education.
“It’s not the government’s job to indoctrinate these children into this despicable type of graphic. Talking about sex and stuff like that. It’s way too young to have these conversations with kids,” Bernstine said.
KDKA spoke to a few parents with children who were soon to be of the age where this could be presented to them.
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“No kid is going to really tell you what they like unless they’re even sexually involved. And no disrespect, but I think kids shouldn’t even be talking about gender,” Tawanda Floyd said.
“But I also think it’s good that people in schools are taking the initiative to stand behind people who are being bullied and bullied for who they are,” said Kayla Hanner, another parent. “I think it’s very important for people to live in their true selves, you know?”
Bernstine said he sent a letter to the state Department of Education on Tuesday hoping to learn how and to whom the material was sent.
KDKA reached out to the state Department of Education, which said curriculum content is determined by each school district and charter school.
“The ability to honor the dignity of others remains a mainstay in education. We know that in order for students to do their best, they need to feel safe at school. The PDE fully supports diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in all schools,” the education department said.
The department would not confirm whether the gender unicorn is currently used in Pennsylvania schools or whether it has state support.
“PDE offers numerous resources to help educators and schools ensure all students have the opportunity to learn free from discrimination, fear and harassment. One of these resources is a Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Toolkit, which supports efforts to create and maintain supportive environments that celebrate diversity and teach students the importance of respecting themselves and others. PDE also offers one Fair Practices Hubthat houses a collection of resources that individuals, classrooms and schools can use to promote intentional justice in their communities,” said the state Department of Education.
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KDKA also reached out to the US Department of Education, which said it doesn’t dictate content at the municipal/state level.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/04/13/state-rep-aaron-bernstine-gender-unicorn/ State Rep. Aaron Bernstine examines ‘gender unicorn’ being taught to education students – CBS Pittsburgh