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Concerns Remain after School Closes ‘Misgendering’ Investigation

'The District may not be willing to admit it publicly, but it has recognized that it has no legal basis to demand that our clients refrain from ‘mispronouning’ other students... '

(The Center Square) There are some unanswered questions about the end of the misgendering investigation at a middle school in Wisconsin, where three 8th-grade boys were charged with sexual harassment for using the “incorrect pronouns” when referring to another classmate.

The school district on Thursday sent a letter to parents explaining that it has closed the case.

“We are writing to share with you that consistent with our Board policies and procedures, we have issued clear directives and expectations to all students involved in this matter for the purpose of preventing bullying and harassment and ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for all of our students,” the district wrote in its letter. “Based on these actions, and pursuant to District policies and procedures, the School District considers this matter closed.”

School leaders framed the investigation as a Title IX case involving sexual harassment and bullying.

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“The Kiel Area School District 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, consistent with Board policy and the law,” the letter stated.

But Luke Berg with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which was defending the boys, said the investigation was about free speech.

“We are pleased that the Kiel Area School District has finally ended its misguided Title IX investigation. While the District’s statement attempts to reframe the investigation, it was always primarily about ‘mispronouning.’ The District may not be willing to admit it publicly, but it has recognized that it has no legal basis to demand that our clients refrain from ‘mispronouning’ other students,” Berg said.

Kiel schools are not saying what the outcome of the investigation is, or whether the boys will face any discipline.

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The investigation touched-off a week of bomb threats to Kiel Schools, and one arrest of a California man who the FBI says threatened to kill a Kiel school worker.

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