Lincoln Schools Purple Penguin Gender Claims-Truth! & Fiction!

Lincoln Schools Purple Penguin Gender Claims-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

To broker gender sensitivity, Lincoln Public Schools allegedly trained its teachers to refer to students as “purple penguins” rather than as boys and girls.

The Truth:

Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) has undertaken gender sensitivity training for teachers, but it’s not true that the district requires teachers to refer to all boys and girls as purple penguins.

The eRumor surfaced after a Lincoln Journal Star report on October 1, 2014, that parents were concerned that LPS had attempted to promote an agenda when it engaged its teachers in gender sensitivity training. An LPS official told the newspaper that the district had trained staff on behavioral and social issues — including gay and lesbian issues — for “many years” but had only recently undertaken gender training. Handouts that were provided to teachers by a staff member who participated in a “district equality team” were meant to be suggestions for how teachers could make students feel more comfortable rather than hard rules for teachers to follow, the official said. 

An article published by the National Review stated that teachers in the school district had been told to stop using “gendered expressions” like “boys and girls” and to opt instead for “gender inclusive” terms like “purple penguins.” The article cites materials prepared by the non-profit organization Gender Spectrum to make the purple penguins claim. 

Gender Spectrum’s website states that it “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.” Resources offered by Gender Spectrum do encourage teachers to use gender-neutral expressions like “campers” or “y’all” or “everybody” when referring to groups of children, but the term “purple penguins” didn’t appear on the list, or it had been removed. 

A parent who was concerned that the district had a “gender inclusiveness” agenda rallied other parents who planned to take up the issue at an October 14, 2014, district meeting, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

Posted 10/13/14