Parents at Long Lots Elementary School in Westport were shocked and angered over a recent assignment where fifth graders in at least two classrooms were asked to explore gender stereotypes - a concept which is not supposed to be taught in elementary school.
The exercise involved students building a cartoon avatar that either goes with or goes against gender stereotypes.
The students were first asked to choose between being a person or an animal.
What kind of message does that send to the youngsters who are meant to be exploring gender stereotypes through this exercise? That you can be a human or an animal? Like a "furry" perhaps?
The next prompt asked students to identify if the avatar was female, male or "non-binary" even though most fifth graders do not have the capacity to comprehend what being "non-binary" actually means in practice. Heck, most adults don't understand it either.
You can easily imagine how being presented with a choice like this might be confusing for a 10-year-old child.
At the end of the assignment, a new banner was generated for Google Classroom based on all of the avatars created by the students.
Of the 19 students, about a third chose to identify as animals.
What do you think the take-away was from this lesson?