At least one parent in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union in the Northeast Kingdom is expressing outrage after a middle school teacher asked his students to introduce themselves using gender pronouns in the classroom.
“I emailed my son’s teacher in regards to them trying to normalize the public expression or sharing of pronouns at a very young age, and I’ve learned and read some different articles that are against doing that because it can be traumatizing for kids who are feeling pressured,” Ben Morley, a parent of a child at Irasburg Village School told True North Reports. ” … I don’t think it’s ethical, and it’s actually abusive.”
Morley said the school hasn’t responded yet.
“I actually emailed the teacher twice; I sent them a great email just trying to talk about it on Thursday, and just sort of asked them what the reasoning for doing it in that format was,” he said. “I just told him about what my child expressed as far as it making the environment uncomfortable — I got no response back. I also sent him an article on how it can be traumatizing to pressure students to do this publicly.”
OCSU Superintendent Penny Chamberlin shared her frustrations with the media regarding the situation.
Morley says Chamberlin put out a false claim in the story — namely, that he made no attempts to reach out to the school directly.
“She never reached out to talk about it with me, and she made some accusations in that article — for instance, that I never reached out to the teacher to try and do this civilly. It’s a completely false accusation, and she has my email as we’ve been in contact about similar things,” he said.
Morley took to a private Facebook group to share some of his concerns. A screenshot of a post ended up making rounds online, and was shared by Sen. Russell Ingalls, R-Essex/Orleans. Ingalls was subsequently accused of doxxing, in a tweet by the teacher, because he shared the teacher’s work email address.
Morley is no stranger to being in the spotlight on school teachings regarding social issues. He is a founder of FAIR, which is an acronym for Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.
“So we are starting a chapter in Orleans County to try to introduce different ethical practices of trying to create an inclusive environment in schools, and this is like the prime example of why we need it,” he said.
FAIR is a nonpartisan organization “dedicated to advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding, and humanity,” according to the group’s mission statement.
Morely said FAIR offers online venues for parents and teachers to maintain continuous dialogue so that there’s a better understanding of what’s happening in the classrooms.
“They offer more ethical resources rather than just having teachers sort of introduce this the way they want,” he said. “They’ve got more guidelines around it, which is better for everybody.”