(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) A middle school in Wisconsin is charging three male students with sexual harassment for using the “incorrect pronouns” when referring to another classmate, Just the News reported.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) wrote a letter to administrators in the Keil Area School District, requesting the investigation against the eighth graders.
The complaint began in March after the boys used a biologically correct pronoun when referring to a classmate, who requested to be referred to as “they/them.”
“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, a parent of one of the boys.
“I immediately went into shock. I’m thinking, sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest,” she said. “What has my son done?”
Then, the principal told Rabidoux that her son was facing charges for using the incorrect pronouns.
“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,” she said.
Using correct pronouns is not constituted as sexual harassment under Title IX. The students are also protected by the first amendment.
The superintendent, Brad Ebert, defended the school’s decision to press charges against their own students in a statement.
“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,” he said.
WILL stated that the district’s position seems to be that pronoun compliance must immediately follow the announcement of said pronouns.
“School administrators can’t force minor students to comply with their preferred mode of speaking. And they certainly shouldn’t be slapping eighth graders with Title IX investigations for what amounts to protected speech,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said. “This is a terrible precedent to set, with enormous ramifications.”