(Daily Caller News Foundation) – A teacher at Catalina Foothills High School (CFHS) handed students a “getting to know you” form asking them to list their preferred pronouns and whether or not their pronouns could be used in front of their parents, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
CFHS students were greeted at the beginning of the new school year with questions about their preferred names and pronouns by science teacher Megan Kimball, according to emails and a picture of the form obtained by the DCNF. Kimball handed out the document to students during class, asking whether or not she had permission to share their pronouns with the other students, teachers and “when [the teacher] contact[s] home.”
Students were also asked to answer “yes” or “no” as to whether or not they would like a “private” follow-up conversation with Kimball about their pronouns, according to the document.
In an email to Bart Pemberton, a parent and organizer with the group Save CFSD, Mary Kamerzell, the superintendent of Catalina Foothills Unified School District, acknowledged that Kimball was the only teacher that handed out the form, saying that it was a “well-intentioned effort by the teacher to respect students’ identities,” according to correspondence reviewed by the DCNF.
Pemberton told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the papers were “never meant to be seen by the parents.”
“However, we advise teachers not to solicit preferred names and pronouns,” Kamerzell said. “The questions may give students the false impression that we withhold this type of information from parents. We don’t. As you know, if asked, we tell parents. We also advise students of the same and encourage them to inform their parents. It is unreasonable to expect teachers to remember in what settings to use or not use a different name and/or pronoun.”
The superintendent also stated in the email that parental consent was not necessary before “such surveys [are] conducted.”
CFSD spokesperson Julie Farbarik told the DCNF that educators do not typically “solicit this type of information,” but that the district trusts teachers to do what is right for their class and that “respecting and supporting our students’ true selves is important.”
“This is another terrible abuse of trust of the parents and children in the district,” Pemberton said in a statement to the DCNF. “Every parent should be alarmed. What else are they hiding, and what are they doing with these private and secret conversations the parents don’t know about?”
The Arizona school district has been heavily criticized by parents for not disclosing its policies about pronouns and allowing transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice, according to KGUN, a local media outlet. In March, the DCNF learned that the school had told female students that they would have to request special accommodations if they felt uncomfortable sharing locker rooms with biological male students identifying as transgender.
The district maintained that it had always had an “unwritten policy” regarding the issue despite the objections of parents who claimed that they were never informed until students began speaking up. Later that month, emails to Bart Pemberton from the district showed that the administration had no intention of reviewing its policy and CFSD Governing Board President Eileen Jackson stated that the policy had her “full support.”
As a result, parents began showing up in large numbers to board meetings, calling for a review of the policy. In April, the board claimed that they had received “multiple threats” and a spokesperson told the DCNF that the district had filed a report with the local sheriff and the FBI.
Dan Grossenbach, a parent and the founder of CFSD Concerned Citizens, previously told the DCNF that no one from the FBI or the district informed parents about the report.
Kimball did not respond to repeated requests for comment by the DCNF.