Lawyer for students: “The mere use of biologically correct pronouns not only does not constitute sexual harassment under Title IX or the District’s own policy, it is also speech protected by the First Amendment.”
If you want a good example of how education has gone off the rails in this country under the weight of what euphemistically is called “wokeness,” what just happened at the Kiel Middle School in Wisconsin is a good place to start.
Three 8th grade boys have been charged by the school with sexual harassment under federal Title IX for failing to use the preferred pronoun “they” of a classmate.
Fox 11 reported:
An investigation into three Kiel Middle School students has been launched.
The school district has filed a Title IX complaint against the students, accusing them of sexual harassment for using incorrect pronouns when addressing another student.
“I received a phone call from the principal over at the elementary school, forewarning me; letting me know that I was going to be receiving an email with sexual harassment allegations against my son,” Rosemary Rabidoux, one of the parents of the students being accused said.
“I immediately went into shock. I’m thinking, sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest” Rabidoux said. “What has my son done?”
Rabidoux’s 13-year-old son, Braden, is one of the three eighth-grade Kiel Middle School students accused of sexual harassment, something she disputes.
“(The investigating principal) said he’s being allegedly charged with sexual harassment for not using proper pronouns,” said Rabidoux. “I thought it wasn’t real. I thought this has got to be a gag, a joke — one has nothing to do with the other.”
That report also contained information on one of the incidents:
According to the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, now defending the accused students, in March, one of their peers announced the pronouns they’d prefer to be addressed as: they/them.
One of the alleged incidents Braden and the others were supposedly involved in happened in late April.
“She had been screaming at one of Braden’s friends to use proper pronouns, calling him profanity, and this friend is very soft-spoken, and kind of just sunk down into his chair,” Rabidoux explained. “Braden finally came up, defending him, saying ‘He doesn’t have to use proper pronouns, it’s his constitutional right to not use, you can’t make him say things.’”
Some say, this could show Rabidoux and her son are against the LGBTQ+ community.
This is unreal. A Wisconsin school district filed a Title IX complaint against 3 middle school students, accusing them of sexual harassment for using incorrect pronouns when addressing another student. pic.twitter.com/GEEjXoEnxW
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 13, 2022
ABC2 further reports that the school district is pushing forward:
The Kiel Area School District doesn’t comment on student matters but provided this statement from Superintendent Brad Ebert to Action 2 News:
“The KASD prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment in accordance with all laws, including Title IX, and will continue to support ALL students regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, sex (including transgender status, change of sex or gender identity), or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability (“Protected Classes”) in any of its student programs and activities; this is consistent with school board policy. We do not comment on any student matters.”
– Brad Ebert, Kiel Superintendent
The boys’ families have asked for a response from the district by next Friday. Their attorney tells us if the boys’ records aren’t cleared and they are punished, there is a strong possibility they’ll pursue legal action against the district.
The complaint against these boys, and the District’s ongoing investigation, are wholly inappropriate and should be immediately dismissed. The mere use of biologically correct pronouns not only does not constitute sexual harassment under Title IX or the District’s own policy, it is also speech protected by the First Amendment. The District has also violated Title IX procedures and its own policy in its handling of the complaint. The District should promptly end the investigation, dismiss the complaints, and remove them from each of the boys’ records.
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“Mispronouning” is also not sexual harassment under Title IX because gender identity is not included within the definition of sex within Title IX. In fact, the Department of Education is currently attempting to amend Title IX to add it.
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More troubling, the District appears to believe that any so-called “mispronouning” is punishable speech under Title IX. We have been in touch with another family whose daughter was recently given an in-school suspension for “sexual harassment” based on a single statement using an allegedly “wrong” pronoun—and the statement was said to a third party, not even to the allegedly “misgendered” student. To the extent this is the District’s view, the District is wrong as a matter of law and is engaged in a clear First Amendment violation.
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To summarize, because what the District calls “mispronouning” does not amount to sexual harassment under Title IX as a matter of law, and because the District’s conduct infringes our clients’ First Amendment and Due Process rights, the District should immediately end its investigation, dismiss the complaints, and remove them from the students’ records. We request and expect a response from the District within 8 days, by Friday, May 20, 2022.
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