VIRAL: Leaked Saline Schools Guidance on Gender Neutral Language Causes Firestorm


A leaked Saline Area Schools letter offering guidance on using gender-neutral language in lessons has gone viral thanks to a popular right-wing social media account. The result has been a small firestorm on X, Facebook and conservative information websites and channels.

Every year, around 1,500 second, third and fourth graders from the school district visit the Weber-Blaess one-room schoolhouse, located on the district's central campus, to experience what rural school was like in the late 19th century.  The school stood at Gensley and Ellsworth Road in Lodi Township from 1869 to 1950. It was donated to the school district and moved to its current location in 2004 thanks to volunteers, fundraising and grants.

The lessons and activities do reflect the gender norms of the era - and a high-ranking school official recently asked docents and volunteers to cease dividing the class into boys and girls and to use gender-neutral language instead of boys and girls. The email was apparently sent by longtime employee Kara Davis, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning - and someone leaked the email to Libs of Tiktok, an X account dedicated to mocking Democrats, liberals and "woke" people.

<!-- EMBEDDED X URL: -->

Despite some of the ugly and harsh responses on social media across the country, the local reaction has been relatively muted. Still, Davis's email drew the ire of the "anti-woke," traditionalists and some conservative Christians. Some called for her resignation or firing.

"Institutionally indoctrinated educators behaving exactly how you would expect. Call her office and ask for her resignation," wrote Josh LeBaron in the Saline Posts Facebook group.

Davis also has the support of people in favor of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts.

"I don’t see what the problem is here. It’s being inclusive of people who don’t identify as either boy or girl. Being more inclusive and understanding of other people is not a bad thing at all," Pete Ward wrote.

The district's statement on the issue caused some confusion. The district reiterated its commitment to DEI and creating a safe environment for students and staff.

"While many education practices of that era were centered around the separation of genders, Saline Area Schools guides staff and volunteers to not demonstrate the separation of boys and girls in the facilitation of activities and reenactments," spokesperson Jackelyn Martin wrote. "The district has not requested that staff and volunteer docents refrain from ever using the terms "boy or girl" when they are teaching historical lessons."

But Davis's letter seems to suggest the people were being told to stop referring to boys and girls.

"An adjustment that needs to be communicated to the docents/schoolmasters is that they should not use 'boy/girl' ti refer to students," Davis wrote in the email. Instead, she recommends using terms like students, children or visitors.

The Saline Post twice sought a "notice" Davis sent to teachers regarding district inclusion practices and relevant policy language. It was not provided. Superintendent Steve Laatsch provided a general response to provide more clarity. But again, the statement seemed to provide somewhat conflicting information. 

"It is a best practice for all teachers and volunteers to refer to groups of students using inclusive language. Examples of alternatives include 'friends' or 'students.' While the cited email provided no directive to teachers at Saline Area Schools as a whole, we do expect that teachers will be consistent in upholding our transgender and non-binary student policy," Laatsch wrote. "The district has not requested that staff and volunteer docents refrain from ever using the terms 'boy or girl' when they are teaching historical or other lessons."

The district is hoping the situation dies down. Libs of TikTok also got ahold of another email - this one sent out by Laatsch.

<!-- EMBEDDED X URL: -->

The email instructed staff to direct all media inquiries call spokesperson Jackelyn Martin.

"We are hopeful that the online narrative surrounding this educational field trip for young students will end soon," Laatsch said. "We appreciate that staff have not been engaging in the online discussion."

More News from Saline
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified