Enormous Ramifications

8th graders & pronouns = sexual harrassment?

2022 | Week of May 23 | Radio Transcript #1465

Imagine your middle-school son coming home after school one day and telling you he got in trouble with school officials because he didn’t use the right pronouns when speaking to another student. What would your reaction be to what your son told you? Maybe something like, “Really? Are you sure that’s all that happened? Did you do something to the other student?”

Your son assures you he didn’t; so, you ask what school official talked with him, thinking maybe you better call the school to see what really happened. Surely, your son didn’t understand or wasn’t telling the whole story. You tuck the information way making a mental note to call the school tomorrow.

The next morning you send your son off to school, not mentioning that you’ll be calling the official he’d been in trouble with the day before.  What you hear in that call shocks you, as the building principal tells you your son and two other boys were bullying and intimidating another student by referring to him or her using pronouns that agreed with that student’s biological sex rather than using the student’s so-called “preferred” pronouns of they and them. Shocked gives way to stunned when you hear the principal say the matter has been referred to the superintendent and may result in formal charges against your son.

And, indeed, that’s exactly what happens. This isn’t a fabricated story. It happened last month here in Wisconsin in the Kiel Area School District. Here’s how nationalworldnews reported on the incident “A Wisconsin school district has filed sexual harassment complaints against three middle schoolers for calling a classmate by a wrong pronoun.

“The school district in Kiel, a city of 3,600 residents, has charged the three eighth-graders at the Kiel Middle School with sexual harassment after an incident in April in which the students refused to use ‘they’ to refer to a classmate who had switched pronouns a month before the alleged incident, according to reports.

“’I received a phone call from the principal…forewarning me, letting me know that I was going to be receiving an email with sexual harassment against my son,’ said Rosemary Rabidoux, whose 13-year-old son Braden is one of the students charged with sexual harassment.

“’I immediately went into shock,” she continued in an interview with FOX 11. ‘I’m thinking sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest. What has my son done?’”

Newsmax adds some additional details: “Rabidoux added: ‘[The investigating principal] said he's being allegedly charged with sexual harassment for not using proper 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.’"

Indeed, sexual harassment has nothing to do with pronouns—or at least it never has before now. The Kiel Area School District has filed a Title IX complaint against Mrs. Rabidoux’s son and two other students.

Fortunately, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is primed and ready to respond to this situation—and has done so—writing a letter to the school district on behalf of these young boys. WILL asserts that another student's misuse of pronouns does not go against the Kiel school district's policy. It's also not a Title IX-type violation.

According to Newsmax, WILL deputy counsel Luke Berg said, "’Title IX sexual harassment typically covers things like rape, dating violence, quid pro quo sexual favors….There's nothing even remotely close to that alleged in this case. The charge against students for sexual harassment is an extreme abuse of the Title IX process. It's totally inappropriate and is totally being mishandled by the school district.’" Berg added, ‘This is a terrible precedent to set, with enormous ramifications.’"

Enormous ramifications, indeed. The sad truth is that one of the reasons the school district and its attorneys thought they could take this egregious action is that a couple of years ago the US Supreme Court in an employment discrimination case determined that the word sex in federal programs includes gender identity and gender expression in addition to biological sex. That threw the door wide open for these types of situations, which we knew it would.

This Kiel situation is both ludicrous and frightening but should serve as yet another wake-up call to parents with children in government schools. If it happens in Kiel, it can happen where you live.  It’s not too late to explore educational options for next year.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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