Count the number of the times the word "safe," is used in this article about adding gender-inclusive language to Pinckney Community Schools' reproductive health class. Here, I'll help you.
"I want all children to feel safe (one) in school," [Sex education instructor Sue] Dyer said during a school board meeting. "The new vocabulary terms will be introduced during those classes, … The list of terminology was taken from the Michigan Department of Education and comes as a result of all the new transgender information out there."
"It is also important to have a very open forum that is open for everyone to talk about," Dyer said. "I want to make sure students are informed, parents are informed and, above all, that everyone is safe (two)."
Dyer said the main goal is to create a safe (three) environment for students, and she added that it "feels like education is the best way to get people to learn the way to communicate and keep people safe (four)."
Superintendent Rick Todd said he agreed with the changes presented during Thursday's meeting, adding that the district wants to create a safe (five) environment where all children can learn.
Okay, glad to know Pinckney is taking safety seriously. Super duper seriously.
If we are going to have public schools, and they are going to have reproductive health classes, I suppose the instructors ought to use gender-inclusive language (the news story offers zero details on what that means in practice). But let's not pretend that safety is in any way related to proper pronoun usage.
When the instructor and the superintendent say safety, I suspect what they really mean is comfort. But comfort and safety are not at all the same thing, and consistently conflating them has its perils. Students do indeed have a right to feel safe. They don't necessarily have a right to feel comfortable. Sometimes learning isn't.