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Gender Neutral Pronouns in the Classroom

a3-oct-17

It is common for elementary school teachers to send home a welcome letter during the first few weeks of school, introducing themselves to new parents and students.

Chloe Bressack’s “About Me” letter had many of the usual information; her favorite color is red, she likes giraffes and Sour Skittles. It was another part of the letter that raised eyebrows among parents and administrators. Bressack – then a fifth-grade math and science at Canopy Oaks Elementary School – explained that students in her class would be expected to use gender-neutral pronouns. She would be referred to as Mx. Bressack and the pronouns “he, his, she, hers” would be replaced by “they, them, their.”

“I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but in my experience students catch on pretty quickly,” Bressack said in the letter. “My priority is for all of my students to be comfortable in my classroom and have a space where they can be themselves while learning.”

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported that parental reactions on social media were mixed.

Bressack was recently reassigned to an adult basic education program in the district. A statement from school officials stated that the district has a “responsibility to provide a productive educational environment free of distractions for our students, teachers, and staff.”

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