BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (CBS Seattle)– A kindergarten teacher in Washington state is banning the use of Legos among her male students in the name of “gender equity.
Bainbridge Island Review reports that Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary teacher Karen Keller doesn’t allow male students to play with the blocks in order to encourage use among females. She even makes up excuses sometimes to set her agenda in order.
“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” Keller told the Bainbridge Island Review. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”
Keller says she started doing this because boys were flocking to the colorful blocks during their “free choice” playtime, while girls tended to play with dolls or crayons. Keller hopes by blocking use of the toys for boys that female students may be encouraged to play with them.
The teacher says that Lego play helps with development acceleration and math skills, while dolls offer little challenge or opportunity for growth.
She first used pink and purple Legos to try to attract the girl students to play with the toys, but she found this ineffective. Soon after she requested funds from the school to purchase Lego Education Community Starter Kits. She did not tell school officials that access to the toys would be denied for male students.
“I had to do the ‘girls only Lego club’ to boost it more,” Keller said. “Boys get ongoing practice and girls are shut out of those activities, which just kills me. Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is ‘what I want to do’ — I want to protect that.”
Keller says the practice is “fair” because she’s giving different students the tools they need to succeed.
“I just feel like we are still so far behind in promoting gender equity,” Keller added.