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Texas school district's 'Women and Gender Studies' course taught students to use 'gender-neutral' language

A Texas school district offers a course that teaches students to use “gender-neutral” language when describing jobs in order to be more inclusive. 

The Judson Independent School District [JISD] told Fox News Digital that students are taught about “gender-neutral” language in a “Women and Gender Studies” course. The course is an optional Special Topics Elective Course offered to Juniors and Seniors and is only given if enough students opt into the course on their student choice slips.

JISD states that the course has a resource available for teachers to use if they choose. Its focus is to “help students learn about the advantages of non-traditional career choices for female and male students” as well as “promote responsibility among students regarding prejudice and inequalities in different careers by using positive action and conflict resolution…assist teachers and students in creating an equitable classroom environment….recognize and challenge harassment in the classroom and workplace.”

Furthermore, there is an activity called “Gender Language” on page 11 of the “Gender Equity Booklet” where students consider words used to describe occupations, gives them a list of examples, and asks them to “think of ways you would change these titles to make them more gender fair or neutral.” For example, the course gave students a list of job titles and phrases such as “mailman,” “policeman,” “woman’s institution” and “sportsmanship,” and asked them to take “man” out to make the terms “bias-free.”

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT - AUGUST 31: Bookshelves of library books stand reflected in the media center of the Newfield Elementary School on August 31, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. The school library, like many around the U.S., will be largely closed to students due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stamford Public Schools is opening the fall semester using a hybrid model, although many families have chosen the distance-learning option.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT – AUGUST 31: Bookshelves of library books stand reflected in the media center of the Newfield Elementary School on August 31, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. The school library, like many around the U.S., will be largely closed to students due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stamford Public Schools is opening the fall semester using a hybrid model, although many families have chosen the distance-learning option.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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JISD made clear that the “Gender Language” activity is an exercise that falls under the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for High School Social Studies for Grades 9-12 as outlined by the Texas Administrative Code Title 19, Part 2, Chapter 113, Subchapter C, Rule 113.47. TEKS includes the study of women’s roles and issues in society and the consideration of gender since they were enacted in 2012. The exercise was pulled from a “Gender Equity Activity Booklet,” a resource in providing activities for students and teachers to help will help “promote gender equity in the school and work setting.

Page 11 of the booklet reads, “Throughout the years, jobs have been identified by titles that cause us to think in tenders of different genders. For many years certain jobs were only performed by one gender, but as times have changed and more women enter the workforce jobs once reserved for certain genders have changed. Men’s jobs such as policeman, fireman, or fisherman were once male jobs, and women’s jobs such as housewife, nurse, and teacher were recognized as female jobs.”

It goes on to say, “Although these gender-biased labels reflect our past more accurately than the present, they are still used.” 

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“Some will try and tell us that some titles are ‘inclusive’ and can be used for both men and women. This is not true. What would happen if a group of males were referred to as ‘you gals?’ Yet females are called ‘you guys’ all the time.”

The fear of speaking freely is not isolated to conservative professors, the FIRE survey found, with 40% of liberal faculty also fearing retribution if they say something unfavorable. 

The fear of speaking freely is not isolated to conservative professors, the FIRE survey found, with 40% of liberal faculty also fearing retribution if they say something unfavorable.  (iStock)

JISD noted to Fox News Digital that “no quiz was provided as a resource over the terms Safe Space and Patriarchy,” which was reported by other outlets. 

In regard to the gender language activity, the district added that “this is an exercise that falls under the Social Studies Special Topics standards outlined in the Texas Administrative Code Title 19, Part 2, Chapter 113, Subchapter C, Rule 113.47, or TAC, where students are provided the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the historic, political, economic, geographic, multicultural, and social forces that have shaped their lives and the world in which they live. Students will use social science knowledge and skills to engage in rational and logical analysis of complex problems using a variety of approaches, while recognizing and appreciating diverse human perspectives.”

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“JISD follows the standards outlined for Social Studies Special Topics and the secondary social studies TEKS provided by the state in TAC. Per the Unit 1 Vocabulary sheet referenced above Gender Identity is defined as a person’s sexual identity or self-identification as bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, pansexual, asexual, etc. There are no definitions given for woman or man other than the term “Sex” which is defined as “the state of being male or female, differentiated on the basis of reproductive organs and structures.”

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