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Teacher Under Investigation After What 'Nonbinary' Student Decided to Do During Equal Rights Lesson

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A Colorado school is investigating a lesson that grouped students by male and female following backlash from a “nonbinary” student, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

In a lesson about the 14th Amendment, which gives and protects equal rights to all U.S. citizens, Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy civics teacher Mike Smith asked students to split up by gender and discuss transgender athletes competing in sports on the basis of gender identity, according to the Gazette. Banning Lewis Prep Principal Athena Rehorst is investigating the lesson following complaints from a “nonbinary” student, Jace, in the class who did not feel comfortable joining either group.

“It’s tough being 16 right now, especially if you are a student who is still figuring out who they are, whether that’s gender, whether that’s sexuality, whatever that is,” Samantha Hollister, a parent of a student in Smith’s class, told the Gazette. “It’s heartbreaking to me to think about how isolated any student might have felt in that classroom in that discussion.”

Jace, who uses “he/they” pronouns, left Smith’s classroom during the lesson because it was “insensitive,” the Gazette reported. Hollister alleged that Smith did not remain neutral during conversation surrounding the lesson.

As a part of the investigation, students who participated in the lesson were interviewed. Smith concurred with Rehorst that there are more “sensitive” ways to group students for lessons in the future.

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“Whenever we have a controversial topic in school, somebody is going to be upset that it’s brought up,” Rehorst said. “I don’t want people’s discomfort with controversial topics to make us as educators shy away from addressing those in school because I feel like then we are doing students a disservice and not allowing them to really explore those issues in a safe environment.”

Smith could not be reached for comment, and Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy and Rehorst did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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