Missouri school district offers coloring pages on preferred pronouns, gender expression to kindergartners

(The Daily Signal) – A Missouri school district is providing elementary-school teachers with coloring pages, asking children as young as kindergartners to choose their pronouns and draw…

(The Daily Signal) – A Missouri school district is providing elementary-school teachers with coloring pages, asking children as young as kindergartners to choose their pronouns and draw the corresponding hair and clothing. 

Webster Groves School District Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Shane Williamson emailed administrators a resource list of “Gender Identity and Expression Activities” in October 2022 in honor of LGBT History Awareness Month, according to public documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with The Daily Signal.

“I believe it would be good to start our own resource sheet that provides ideas and activities that can help affirm and support our elementary students around the topic of gender identity and expression,” Williamson said in the email.

Williamson started the list and allowed others to add more activity resources. She did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment. 

The list includes two “Playing with Pronouns” coloring pages from the Gender Wheel website for kindergarten through fifth grade and links to Welcoming Schools resources on gender-expansive classrooms and Advocates for Youth’s K-12 sexuality curriculum.

The “My Personal Style” coloring page asks children to draw themselves in the “style that feels the most like you.” The page features a gender-neutral child in the middle surrounded by both boy and girl options for clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry.

A line for children as young as age 5 to fill in their preferred pronouns is found below the picture. 

The other “Playing the Pronouns” coloring page includes a maze with a child of uncertain sex at one end and a text bubble saying, “Help Dylan find their baseball hat” at the other end, with “their” in lieu of either “his” or “her.”

“The Gender Wheel reminds us that we must see gender and bodies in a nonlinear continuum, and not in isolation,” according to the Gender Wheel website, which makes the claim that gender stereotypes have no basis in nature. 

Jay Greene, a senior education fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, told The Daily Signal the coloring pages used by the St. Louis-area school district are inappropriate for young children. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“Asking kindergartners in a Missouri public school to reimagine their gender identity and list their pronouns is simply not age-appropriate and almost certainly inconsistent with the priorities of families in that community,” Greene said. “Even if we think certain topics can lead to productive discussions, not all topics are appropriate for all ages of children.” 

The Welcoming Schools lesson plans, which the Webster Groves resource list designates as age appropriate for kindergarten through eighth grade, aim at “creating classrooms and schools that are free of gender stereotypes and gender norms that limit all children,” according to its website. 

The “Lesson Plans to Create Gender Expansive Classrooms and Support Transgender and Nonbinary Students,” produced by the far-left Human Rights Campaign, include LGBTQ children’s book downloads, such as “I Am Jazz,” the story of transgender-identifying biological male Jazz Jennings; “Julian Is a Mermaid,” the story of a boy who wants to dress like a female mermaid; “Jacob’s New Dress,” about a boy who wears a dress to school; and “They, She, He, Easy as ABC,” a child’s guide to “inclusive pronouns.” 

“A key focus of our program is to provide comprehensive resources for educators to teach about transgender and nonbinary people and to affirm all students’ identities across the gender spectrum,” the Welcoming Schools website says. 

Other book recommendations for children kindergarten age and older include “Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope”; “They, She, He, Me, Free to Be!”; and “Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Friendship and Gender.” 

A winter-related lesson available for download about a “Gender Snowperson” for third through fifth grades asks children to draw their gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and so-called sex assigned at birth. 

Children learn about nonbinary butterflies in another lesson designated as appropriate for kindergarten to second grade classrooms. 

“Introducing students to animals that are nonbinary, as opposed to the ‘female and male’ gender binary, helps them to understand that there are many genders and that nature displays great diversity,” the lesson plan says.

Martin Bennet, secretary and treasurer of the St. Louis County Family Association, which submitted the FOIA request, said the Webster Groves lessons are indicative of what’s happening in public schools in Missouri and elsewhere. 

“The inappropriate lessons that are occurring in public education, along with the continual slide in academic performance, is why the Missouri Legislature and Gov. [Mike] Parson must make school choice a reality for parents in Missouri,” Bennet told The Daily Signal.

K-12 lesson plans from Advocates for Youth feature elementary lessons on “Thinking Outside the (Gender) Box,” different kinds of families, gender roles, and understanding that “there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have.”

lesson on pregnancy lists abortion as a pregnancy option. Teachers are to show the students a video on options, then say, “Let’s take a closer look at these three options and identify what a person should consider with each option. For example, with the option of abortion, a person should consider if abortion is available in their local area or would require them to travel.”

Optional homework outlined in the lesson plan undermines crisis pregnancy centers, more commonly referred to as pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy help centers.

“Research the phrase Crisis Pregnancy Center, which are centers that aim to block a pregnant person’s access to a safe abortion,” the lesson plan says. “Identify three key facts about crisis pregnancy centers that set them apart from health care centers.” 

Advocates for Youth’s use of “pregnant person” implies that pregnancy is not exclusive to women. 

Abortion is defined as “when a pregnant person decides to end the pregnancy by accessing a safe medical procedure or medication to remove the pregnancy from the person’s uterus.”

Webster Groves School District did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.