Flagstaff Unified School District administrators scrambled last week to explain how 7th grade students at Mount Elden Middle School were subjected to the “Universe Model of Gender” in their language arts class.
According to Karin Eberhard, Associate Director of Communications and Public Relations for Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD), students were taught about genders including genderqueer, non-binary, pangender, androgyne, neutrois, gender-variant, AG, cyborg, two-spirit, glitterbutch, genderfluid, trigender, stud, agender, and genderless, as part of the District’s incorporation of its “anti bullying/harassment policy into a small piece of curriculum.”
The parent told Oravits that he was surprised to discover that his son was exposed to the bizarre material. “He mentions there’s 60 something sexualities,” said the father referring to his son, “and we were like, what the heck are you talking about?”
The father told Oravits that he was “just absolutely shocked and pretty outraged about what they were teaching them.” He should be. A review of the permission slip parents signed makes virtually no mention of the content of the curriculum:
Dear Parents and Families,
Positive Youth Connections, a program of Northland Family Help Center’s Community Education Department, has been scheduled to do presentations at your daughter/son’s school. In order for your child to attend presentations given by Northland Family Help Center, you must give permission by signing at the bottom of this consent form. The form must be returned to your daughter or son’s Instructor.
History of Northland Family Help Center
Northland Family Help Center, a non-profit organization, has been in operation for over 30 years. Our mission is to provide safe haven, advocacy, counseling and education to promote and restore healthy relationships. Northland Family Help Center’s Community Education Department serves local communities and is dedicated to decreasing the incidence of sexual and relationship violence by addressing attitudes and behaviors through open discussion, increased awareness, and prevention education. The community education department receives financial support from Arizona Department of Health Services and local foundations.
Positive Youth Connections
Positive Youth Connections (PYC) is a program that focuses on interpersonal and relational violence prevention and education. PYC targets youth and the adults in their lives. The following topics may be addressed in PYC presentations: positive and healthy relationships, conflict resolution skills, bullying, internet safety, oppression in society, gender socialization, sexual harassment vs. flirting, the definition of and importance of obtaining consent, Arizona laws regarding sexual assault, self-harm, healthy body image, substance abuse, positive choice-making skills, non-violent communication, bystander intervention, and self-esteem.
The components of the PYC program include:
- Youth multi-session workshops
- Youth community-wide activities (i.e., peer education and volunteer opportunities, art and social media projects)
In Arizona, if a student discloses abuse (past or present), if not already reported, Northland Family Help Center staff are required by law (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3620(A), (E)-(F)) to file a report in person or over the phone as well as a written report to the police or Child Protection Services (CPS) within 72 hours. CPS may contact the police but we may do so as well.
We are continually striving to improve our presentations and make them more responsive to student needs and interests. Therefore, we may gather information from the students about their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding the issues and about how they felt about the presentation. The information obtained from your daughter/son will be kept anonymous and may be used to inform funders and other interested parties about the success of Northland’s Community Education programs. Students are free to refuse to answer any questions or participate in any presentation or activity and may withdraw at any time.
A parent/guardian signature is required for your daughter or son to attend a presentation given by Northland Family Help Center. If you agree to the above information, please sign below and return this form.
Yes, I agree to the above information, and I am willing to allow my daughter or son to attend a presentation given by Northland Family Help Center.
Signature of Parent/Guardian:____________________________________
Student Name: _______________________________________ Date: ____________
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school or the Community Education department at Northland Family Help Center at (928)233-2210. Thank you for your time!
When asked if the FUSD Governing Board approved the material offered by Northland Family Help Center’s Community Education Department, Eberhard responded, “The governing board does not approve outside presenters.”
Several years ago, former State Sen. Lori Klein proposed legislation that would force school board to approve all curriculum in the classroom including outside presenters, but the Arizona School Board Association worked with former State Sen. Rich Crandall, then-chair of the Education Committee to kill it.
When asked precisely what Arizona educational standard the material addressed, Eberhard responded, “My understanding is that curriculum standards having to do with writing, critical thinking, and others (just giving examples and not any actual assignments) were incorporated in this as with all lessons.” However, contrary to Eberhard’s claim, while the course work may have prompted writing assignments, there is absolutely no indication in the available materials that an opposing view of gender was explored. Critical thinking involves taking all information, including opposing views, and arriving at an informed opinion or conclusion.
Without exposure to conflicting information, children are merely being indoctrinated. In this case, the students appeared to have been given one set set of “facts,” and it is implied that if those facts were challenged the child just might be a bully.
Among the facts students were to accept was the concept that “Men and women aren’t two opposite ends of a spectrum, with everyone else’s gender defined in between and dependent on that binary. They are just two of the many genders that exist in our amazing world.”
— Jeff Oravits (@JeffOravits) March 30, 2018
In September 2017, the American College of Pediatricians published Gender Ideology Harms Children, in which they advise adults to tread lightly when it comes to gender dysphoria. The physicians cite the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5), which reported that “as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”
“No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female,” write the physicians, “this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward.” Those adverse experiences could include under-trained educators hoping for a bias confirming outcome.
The fact that the permission slip states that a “parent/guardian signature is required” for students attending a presentation given by Northland Family Help Center, should have been a red flag for Mount Elden Middle School parents. However, it is understandable that any parent would have been surprised by the content shared in Ms. Alexa Frechette’s class for mostly 12 year-olds.
In 2015, Frechette was part of a group of 50 NAU students who participated in a sit-in at the Babbitt Administrative Center “to show solidarity against what they say has been discriminatory action by the university,” according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
“A group of students met with NAU President Rita Cheng Wednesday to discuss a list of 22 demands that were sent by multiple student groups at NAU to administrators alleging bias, insensitivity and censorship in their learning and living environment. The demands came from a variety of student organizations, including the Queer Activist Collective, the Black Student Union and Queer and Allies,” reported the Sun.
According to an article by David Ahumada for the Arizona Daily Independent, the students warned the administration that if they did not “receive a response to their demands by the Office of Student Life, President Rita Cheng, and the University Provost, “with an action plan by January 19th, 2016,” they will “take appropriate nonviolent actions which will escalate until our demands are met.”
Subjects of the demand perceived the letter to be bullying in nature.
“Liberals spend a lot of time in group testing words and phrases in order to change the English language to promote their agenda,” said Arizona Rep. Bob Thorpe. “Teaching 7th graders about the 50 to 60 liberal-identified genders has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with indoctrination. When you consider that only about one-third of Flagstaff students pass the AZMerit test, and now Arizona teachers are demanding a 20 percent pay increase, perhaps they should stop teaching about controversial political issues like gender and focus on the basic educational principles that will help our students be successful in jobs and in college.”