Students at Pleasant Valley were required to answer a question on a survey asking about their preferred pronouns. The question had an asterisk next to it, meaning it was a required field.
The survey was reportedly given by the PE teacher.
The Iowa Standard reached out to the teacher who reportedly gave the survey as well as the superintendent on Wednesday. On Thursday we contacted the school and left a message for Mike Zimmer, the director of secondary education. We asked all three individuals if parents were notified of the survey and if answers were being shared with parents.
Zimmer said the district has been “investigating the who, what, when and why of the survey.”
“We’ve also been confirming if the July 1, 2007 Iowa Civil Rights Act establishing the nondiscriminatory provision of education covered in Iowa Code 216.9 had changed,” he added. “Upon confirmation, we will be providing you an updated response based upon the current law.”
Brian Strusz, the superintendent, told The Iowa Standard the form was for PE teachers “only to get to know all of their students as they have 500-plus students and to be proactive with name pronunciation, preferred names and other concerns the students may have.”
“If a student requested a preferred name/shortened name/pronoun that is different from a name listed in school records, they contact counselors to allow the counselors to talk to the student to help process the request and facilitate additional conversations as determined,” Strusz said.
The form shared from the school to The Iowa Standard listed the preferred pronoun question as “optional.”
However, the screenshot of the survey provided to The Iowa Standard from a concerned individual in the district had an asterisk by the pronoun question — meaning it was required.
The Iowa Standard asked at what point parents are involved. When we receive a response, we’ll update the story.