DEWITT, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – DeWitt Public Schools appear to be doubling down on its optional “mini lesson” on gender pronouns for its youngest students.

Superintendent Shanna Spickard sent out an email late Wednesday night stating the mini lesson is optional and voluntary and “only being offered to students in one first grade classroom in response to concerns brought to our attention.”

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The book that is the centerpiece of the lesson is titled “They She He Me: Free to Be!” by Maya Gonzalez.

The entire email from Dr. Spickard is here:

Dear DeWitt Public Schools families, 

At DeWitt Public Schools, the safety and well-being of our students and school community is our top priority. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, bullying, or threats of any kind, whether on school property or on social media. This is consistent with our mission to provide a safe, welcoming environment where all learners can succeed.

I wanted to take the opportunity to update you regarding an optional mini-lesson we offered to students in one of our elementary school classrooms. The purpose is to promote greater understanding, compassion, and kindness regarding gender identity and the use of pronouns. The mini-lesson is not designed to challenge, persuade, or alter family beliefs. Instead, it aims to promote a safe and respectful learning environment where all our students feel valued. 

Again, this is an optional session and 100% voluntary and is only being offered to students in one first grade classroom in response to concerns brought to our attention, not as part of our general curriculum. Families of elementary students offered the opportunity to participate in the lesson have received letters with specific information about the lesson and its purpose, as well as the option to opt their student out of the lesson. 

At DeWitt Public Schools, we remain focused on providing a world-class education for our students that prepares them for success in a safe, welcoming environment.

Michigan News Source has requested a copy of the lesson plans and reached out to DeWitt school board members.