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Controversial Classroom Sign Promotes "Gender Isn't Binary" to Students

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Find out what’s happening in your child’s classroom to make sure teachers aren’t promoting only one set of ideas at the expense of your child’s learning. Fight for policies that disallow this type of "We Believe...Gender Isn't Binary" decor displayed in an 8th grade NPS classroom.

Viewpoint neutrality helps promote viewpoint diversity

Indoctrination means the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. The opposite of indoctrination is critical thinking, which is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Viewpoint neutrality in Natick Public Schools is vital to protect the First Amendment rights of students and to promote a welcoming and inclusive learning environment. Fostering a culture of critical thinking prepares students to be informed and engaged citizens in a diverse and democratic society. It also prevents the school district from acting as a moral or political authority on social and controversial issues on behalf of all students. Why is there a sign hanging in an 8th grade classroom that says "Gender Isn't Binary?"

Our schools should enforce its own policies to keep classrooms neutral

Using symbols and signs to represent protected classes or marginalized groups may seem like a straightforward way to promote inclusivity and tolerance. However, many of these forms of expression violate viewpoint neutrality—especially around controversial issues such as gender identity. Controversial means giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.

The district has clear policies and procedures for teaching social and controversial issues to uphold viewpoint neutrality in Natick Public Schools:

1. Controversial issues selected by teachers for classroom discussion must relate directly to the objectives and content of courses approved by the School Committee for inclusion in the curriculum.

2. The teachers' right to introduce controversial issues in classroom presentations does not include the right of advocacy. Teachers must refrain from using their positions to express partisan points of view.

3. The approach to discussion of these issues in the classroom must be objective and scholarly with minimum emphasis on opinion and maximum emphasis on intelligent analysis.

4. Teachers must ensure that the reasoned arguments of all sides of an issue are given equal presentation and emphasis in classroom discussions.

5. Teachers may invite visitors from outside the schools to give presentations on controversial issues…Whenever possible, teachers who invite visitors to present one side of an issue will also invite visitors to present the other side(s).

Activist teachers need reminders that this is the classroom not their living room

Educators should want to adhere to viewpoint neutrality and avoid indoctrination so students aren’t intimidated by the partisan views of those in positions of authority, such as "Gender Isn't Binary." School leaders should take seriously any policy violations so all students feel comfortable expressing their beliefs and ideas in a public school setting.

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