Class at South High School sparks parent outrage

A gender study class causes a student to walk out
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:52 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -Parents and the public are in an uproar over a student who walked out of a class last Thursday, all over an elective taught to South High students.

South High students, staff and parents remain upset about an elective sociology course teaching about transgender kids and gender identity in society.

The outcry from the public claimed the teacher is a pedophile and the class a means to groom his students.

LCSD1 staff says this sociology class’s descriptions are laid out online for students and parents to examine from the beginning of the year.

“Because it is an elective course and oftentimes it is a pre-cursor to higher education, students talk about a variety of issues, including gender identity and some other discussions. Which the teachers preload making sure that the student knows that they have the access point in the classroom if they are not comfortable,” says Margaret Crespo, Superintendent LCSD1.

The student had also missed the previous day’s class, according to LCSD1 officials that gave an orientation about what students would be covering the next day of their trans kids and gender identity unit.

The students were shown a PBS special on Transkids and given a questionnaire about gender identity.

According to district representatives, the parent then went to the school board to complain and hasn’t spoken to the school’s teacher or administrator after the incident.

A posting of the questionnaire was posted on Facebook and got immediate public reaction.

“We hope that parents are working with their students regarding all of their course choices. They are online all the time, so they can see what curriculum is eligible or available for their students to sign up for,” said Crespo.

A Wyoming Equality spokesperson says classes like this help affirm LGBTQ students.

“At this school there are trans kids right now that exist and so pretending that they don’t exist doesn’t change whether or not you learn how to be around them and act compassionately,” said Ammon Medina, Deputy Director of Wyoming Equality.

According to Wyoming Equality and a recent GLSEN report, 80 percent of LGBTQ students don’t feel safe in schools and have higher suicide rates from a sense of not belonging.

District materials indicate this class was adopted in 2016, is vetted by educators in a 45-day curriculum review and is taught in all district high schools.

“These students we’re preparing them to go into the real world, to be leaders, community members, and in order to be a good community member, a good leader, a good citizen in our state, then they need to be prepared to live along side all sorts of people,” said Medina.

We were told by officials the parents, students and teacher in this situation were being harassed and receiving death threats and would, therefore, not give us the name of these individuals for direct interviews.

We welcome the opportunity to do an on-camera interview if those directly affected would like to reach out to our station.

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