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Boise School District asked kids about preferred pronouns in back-to-school surveys

Boise School District asked kids about preferred pronouns in back-to-school surveys

Kaitlyn Shepherd
October 3, 2022

The Boise School District gave students the option to report their preferred pronouns in multiple back-to-school surveys.

Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 19, multiple instructors administered back-to-school surveys as a way to become better acquainted with their students. In approximately 32 separate surveys, teachers included a question asking students about their pronouns or preferred pronouns. While most surveys made this question optional, some surveys indicated with asterisks that a response of some kind was required.

The prevalence of surveys mentioning preferred pronouns indicates that the Boise School District has begun to buy into the idea that students can choose among multiple genders, a core tenet of the radical gender theory sweeping through public schools and across the nation.

Conservative activist Christopher Rufo writes, “Radical gender theory is a catch-all term for academic queer theory, transgender ideology, and gender identity activism.” Proponents of radical gender theory believe that gender and sex are social constructs used by white men of European ancestry to oppress sexual minorities. Proponents use an ever-expanding number of sexual identities and neo-pronouns like “ze,” “zir,” and “zim,” as tools to dismantle what they say is an oppressive system of “heteronormativity.”

Radical gender theory can manifest in schools in a variety of ways. School districts may promote gender identities like “genderqueer” or “two-spirit,” adopt transgender-affirming programs or curricula, or offer Gender and Sexuality Alliance clubs to students.

In an email, the attorney for the Boise School District voiced its position:

"During the course of the fulfillment of this [public records] request, Boise School District discovered that, in an attempt to develop healthy relationships with new students, some teachers provided forms where students could voluntarily provide their preferred pronouns. Any information gathered remained solely with the teacher.

This is not a preferred practice in the Boise School District. We reminded all staff that to protect the privacy and safety of all students, we do not request or require a student or staff person to provide preferred pronouns for any reason. However, if a student or staff member volunteers or proactively requests the use of preferred pronouns, we honor their request."

Records obtained by IFF’s Center for American Education show that although the Boise School District claims that it “do[es] not request or require a student … to provide preferred pronouns for any reason,” its teachers administered approximately 32 different surveys asking students about their preferred pronouns. The attorney for the Boise School District stated that the surveys were administered by 29 teachers but was unable to quantify the number of classes that received one of the surveys. 

Surveys spanned a wide variety of subjects at the middle school and high school levels, including:

  • Music
  • English 
  • Science
  • Cooking
  • Marketing
  • Math 
  • AP Psych
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Language and Composition
  • Conceptual Physics
  • AP Physics
  • History
  • German Language

It was unclear whether any survey asking about preferred pronouns was administered to elementary school students.

Unfortunately, parents may be unaware that their child is receiving surveys asking about his or her preferred pronouns. Yet, these and other indicators of radical gender theory are becoming increasingly common in schools. Even in Idaho. 

Parents, who bear the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children, deserve transparency about the kinds of surveys their children are being asked to take at school. Fortunately, Idaho parents have a resource they can use to find out what is happening in their local school district.

To find more examples of how radical gender theory and critical social justice are being implemented in Idaho school districts, visit the Idaho K-12 LEAD Map.

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