Community members discuss the use of gender pronouns in schools

Anderson County High School
Posted at 7:05 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 19:13:56-04

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Community members in Anderson County met Tuesday to discuss the use of gender pronouns in schools.

The conversation comes after one teacher claimed district leaders are forcing them to refer to students by their suggested pronouns rather than their biological.

A now-deleted Facebook post from a man named Randy Adams, who identified himself as a teacher with Anderson County High School, said the district issued guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education telling staff they had to comply if students asked to be addressed by different names, genders, pronouns.

His post also claimed the guidance said he is not allowed to tell the child's parents if they make such a request.

It reads in part, "I cannot call a person a gender other than their biological gender. That is a sin against god."

The post captured the attention of many parents online.

But, it also gained the criticism from mothers like Jessica Bowman.

"This is not acceptable for this schoolteacher to be spreading this kind of message."

She said Adams' message could have very serious consequences for students.

"We know that there have been parents that have harmed or even killed their kids because they are gay or trans or a member of the queer community," said Bowman.

Following Adams' post, the Anderson County School District released a statement attempting to dispel "misinformation" about the guidance that was sent out to staff members.

The statement reads in part "staff are encouraged to discuss gender-specific concerns with the students asking them if they have discussed with their parents, facilitating a conversation with parents if needed."

When it comes to whether or not teachers are required to use a child's preferred pronouns, superintendent Sheila Mitchell said the Kentucky Department of Education guidance that was issued suggests the answer to that question is "not yet settled."

As for legal ramifications, there is also no explicit answer.

But KDE guidance lists several lawsuits against school employees unwilling to recognize a student by their preferred pronouns.

Mitchell said as of September 2022, she has no knowledge of anyone filing a complaint against the district about their preferred pronouns not being used.

LEX 18 also asked Mitchell if Adams will face disciplinary action for his post.

She said she has no comment. But also said staff members have freedom of speech rights.