Fifth graders at an elementary school in Vermont are being encouraged to avoid using terms like "boy," "girl, "male" and "female," and replace them with language like "person who produces sperm" and "person who produces eggs."
"It is time for our science/health unit about the human body focused on puberty and the human reproductive systems," a letter sent to the families of students last week from Founders Memorial School Principal Sara Jablonski stated. "In an effort to align our curriculum with our equity policy, teachers will be using gender inclusive language throughout this unit. With any differences, we strive to use 'person-first' language as best practice."
The letter gave explicit examples of the language that teachers would be using from here on out:
Person who produces sperm in place of boy, male, and assigned male at birth," the letter explained. "Person who produces eggs in place of girl, female and assigned female at birth."
A few months ago, The National Desk (TND) reported on a transgender science teacher from Denver who told other educators during a Department of Education-sponsored virtual event that gender-neutral language, similar to the terms being suggested by Founders Memorial School in Vermont, acknowledges "that not all women produce eggs and also not all egg producers are women."
We're teaching students that language matters. We're not just talking about imaginary people," the teacher, Sam Long, added.
However, many teachers and parental rights activists challenge the idea that "inclusive language" is paramount to scientific discussions.
This language is dehumanizing in any context but for a health unit for 5th graders about puberty and reproduction, it's a dereliction of the duty to educate students about reality," the director of outreach for nonprofit Parents Defending Education, Erika Sanzi, told CITC. "This shows the ideological capture of an elementary school."
The push to change gendered terminology, particularly in relation to discussions about science, is also unfolding in higher education, and most notably at medical schools across the country.
Over the last five years or so I have noticed a change, it's been gradual, but this kind of ideology has been infiltrating science," Carole K. Hooven, a Harvard Human Evolutionary Biology professor, told Fox News in an interview. "It's infiltrating my classroom ... I teach about hormones and behavior. I teach about sex and sex differences. And that's something I've always been really enthusiastic about, is this science of sex and sex differences, and part of that science is teaching the facts and the facts are that there are in fact two sexes."
There are male and female and those sexes are designated by the kind of gametes we produce, like, do we make eggs, you know, big sex cells, or little sex cells — sperm — and that's how we know whether somebody is male or female," Hooven continued during the interview. "And the ideology seems to be that biology really isn't as important as how somebody feels about themselves."
TND reached out to the school system governing Founders Memorial School, the Essex Westford School District, as well as its superintendent, for comment. TND did not immediately hear back from the school district or superintendent, but if responses are received, this story will be updated.