Fed Up Teacher Tells Trans Pupil, 'I Will NOT Refer To You With Female Pronouns'
Teacher tells transgender student 'If this is not acceptable for you, change classes'
A fed-up teacher from Florida refused to address a transgender student by their preferred pronouns, resulting in the school's staff being forced to undergo additional training, to make sure it was an 'inclusive environment.'
In an email obtained by First Coast News, Thomas Caggiano of Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville wrote:
"I will NOT refer to you with female pronouns."
"If this is not acceptable for you, change classes."
Caggiano also told the student:
"I will call you by any reasonable name you like, but the pronouns are not a negotiable thing for me."
But then the student notified Principal Saryn Hatcher, things quickly changed.
"Thank you for the feedback," Hatcher wrote in an email, the outlet said.
"Please know that Sandalwood is a child-friendly school. Your wishes will be honored. I will handle this and get back with you."
First Coast News said it asked Caggiano for comment but did not receive a reply.
The incident was referred to as "unfortunate" by Duval County Public School, and "not consistent with our expectations."
It added that staff would undergo further training to assure an inclusive environment at school.
Laureen Ricks, the District spokesperson, said in an email:
"It has served as a teachable moment and allowed for constructive dialogue among our school community."
"As [Superintendent] Dr. [Diana] Greene has shared, 'We all have an experience of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and we all deserve to feel comfortable expressing those identities.'"
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Ricks said that the teacher who refused to use pronouns has been 'counseled,' but it wasn't clear if they would face discipline.
The matter has now been referred to the district's Office of Equity and Inclusion/Professional Standards.
The office will conduct an investigation; Ricks told First Coast News.
Gov. Rick Scott awarded Caggiano the Governor's Shine Award in recognition of his "service to our country and [his] contributions to Florida's students," the outlet said.
The district policy specifically addresses pronoun use when addressing transgender students.
Earlier this month, a school punished a sixth-grade student for saying that one of his gender-confused classmates — a biological male — is not actually a girl.
The unnamed schoolboy was disciplined in July at a school within an undisclosed Ohio school district.
According to a news release by the religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel, a sixth-grade boy, referred to as "Boy A," began identifying as a girl during the 2018-19 school year.