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State Rep. Aaron Bernstine looking into 'gender unicorn' taught to education students

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine Looking Into 'Gender Unicorn' Taught To Education Students 02:11

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A local lawmaker is looking into teaching material that he said is targeted at young students to learn about their sex and gender identity. It's called the "gender unicorn."

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine said a slideshow with the gender unicorn was used during a seminar at a local Pennsylvania college where college students, hoping to graduate to become teachers, learned how they could have conversations with kids in kindergarten, first and second grade. 

"Five-, 6-, 7-, 8-year-old children need to be seeing nothing like this whatsoever," Bernstine said. "It is very important that we make sure that this never reaches our children at this young of an age. It is entirely unacceptable, and we have to make sure that we're protecting kids in the classroom."

Bernstine said according to some students at the seminar, the Gender Unicorn and Gender Person are meant to educate grade school students about their identity as part of an anti-bullying campaign.

Bernstine said the material came from the Pennsylvania State Deptartment of Education.

"It is not the job of the government to indoctrinate these kids to this despicable type of graphic. It talks about sex and things like that. It is way too young to be having these conversations with children," Bernstine said.

KDKA talked to some parents with kids soon to be at the age where this could be introduced to them.

"No kid is gonna really tell you what they like if they're not even sexually involved. And no disrespect, but I don't think kids should even be talking about gender," said Tawanda Floyd.

"I think it's good though, too, that people at schools are taking initiative to step behind people who are getting bullied and victimized for being who they are," said Kayla Hanner, another parent. "Like, I think that's very important for people to live in their true self, you know?"

Bernstine said he sent a letter to the state education department on Tuesday in hopes to learn how and to whom the material was sent.

KDKA reached out to the state Department of Education, who said curriculum content is determined by each school district and charter school.

"The ability to honor the dignity of others remains a mainstay in education. We know that to do their best, students must feel safe at school. PDE wholly supports diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in all schools," the education department said.

The department would not confirm if the gender unicorn is currently being used in Pennsylvania schools or if it's supported by the state.

"PDE offers numerous resources to assist educators and schools in ensuring all students have the opportunity to learn free from discrimination, fear, and harassment. One of these resources is an Equity and Inclusion Toolkit, which supports efforts to create and maintain supportive settings that celebrate diversity and teach students the importance of respect for self and others. PDE also offers an Equitable Practices Hub, which is home to a collection of resources that individuals, classrooms, and schools may use to promote intentional equity in their communities," the State Dept. of Education said.

KDKA also reached out to the U.S Department of Education who said it does not dictate content on the local/state level.

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