Over the years, there’s been a growing debate about the use of pronouns. Some folks have said their pronouns are ze/zir, xi/xir, or others that fall outside of the standard she/her and he/him.
What’s really added to this debate is a school of thought that says everyone else should be forced to use someone else’s pronouns.
This has particularly become an issue in schools where teachers are interacting with students and will have to refer to them in one way or another.
Some educators have warned that using pronouns that don’t match one’s biological gender goes against their religious beliefs.
This issue led to one teacher in Ohio being fired. According to Washington Examiner, this teacher is now fighting back with a lawsuit.
Vivian Geraghty vs. Jackson Memorial Middle School
Geraghty’s lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Middle School comes after she says the institution violated her free speech and religious rights.
The now-former teacher says she was ordered to support the “social transition” of middle school students who had different, new pronouns and wanted to be addressed by these pronouns.
Vivian Geraghty, a former middle school teacher in Ohio, said her right to freedom of speech & free exercise of religion was violated when fired for refusing to address 2 students claiming new gender identities by their preferred pronouns & names. https://t.co/FooHvIZSvv
— Genspect (@genspect) December 13, 2022
Geraghty expressed to the school that her religious views wouldn’t allow her to use the pronouns in question. After she informed the school leaders of this, Geraghty was told to put her religious views aside and that failing to do so would amount to “insubordination.”
From here, Geraghty said she was ordered to write out a resignation letter and then leave the premises of Jackson Memorial Middle School.
The former teacher’s lawsuit now seeks damages for what she asserts as breaches of her First Amendment rights.
What Happens Now?
The Jackson Local School District has been contacted to give a statement on this issue, but has yet to respond thus far. What happened with Geraghty in Ohio is likely to materialize in other settings, as it has previously.
Thus far, there is already a teacher shortage in America. Many teachers resigned from the profession following COVID-19, albeit for different reasons than pronoun usage.
It remains to be seen how the use of pronouns impacts the larger education sphere. Some parents are moving to homeschool their kids, or send their kids to private schools, over concerns about what the public education system is teaching.
Given that Black families homeschool at a higher rate than any other demographic (16%) Dr. Bartholet’s attacks should be alarming to this demographic. I guess she doesn’t care that reading scores for Black homeschoolers are 42 % points higher than their public school peers. https://t.co/D9yIo0ShoI
— Jeremy Wayne Tate (@JeremyTate41) December 12, 2022
There is a very real possibility that in ten years’ time, the education system could be very different than what it is today.
What do you think about the lawsuit that Vivian Geraghty is bringing against Jackson Memorial Middle School? Do you believe the school ultimately violated her First Amendment rights and should pay damages accordingly?
Please feel free to sound off with your perspectives and feedback about this issue in education in the comments area down below.