High school teacher under fire for letter refuting students’ gender identities

A teacher at Watertown High School is under scrutiny after dispersing a letter to students refuting their gender identities Monday.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 8:51 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (KSFY/Gray News) - A South Dakota high school teacher is under scrutiny after dispersing a letter to students refuting their gender identities Monday.

“We did have a faculty member at the high school hand out a letter to four different students. That letter did discuss the students’ gender identity,” said Watertown School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Danielson.

The superintendent says the school district does not support the actions taken by the Watertown High School teacher.

“Our response up until this point has been that the school district does not support those actions by the faculty member,” Danielson said. “We do not support discrimination of any kind for our students. We want to make sure that we create a safe learning environment for every child that comes through our doors.”

Amy Rambow is a parent of a student at the high school and the president and founder of LGBTQ+ group Watertown Love. She was able to share a copy of the letter one of the students had received with Dakota News Now.

A student received this letter from the teacher addressing them as their deadname, then...
A student received this letter from the teacher addressing them as their deadname, then scratched it out(Dakota News Now)

“So the letter talks a lot about religion and their identities and their feelings, on how they can’t count on how they’re feeling. Very much transphobic,” Rambow said.

The letter also mentions a DVD that claims to explain things with “spiritual as well as the scientific facts.”

Danielson says the school district is investigating the matter and a text was sent out to parents informing them of the situation.

“As of this morning, we have been investigating the situation, trying to get a full picture of what happened yesterday, and some of the actions that were done on the part of the staff member,” Danielson said.

Rambow says she wants the situation addressed promptly.

“We’re just hoping that this is handled appropriately and swiftly and not swept under the rug,” Rambow said.

When asked if the teacher in question was still being allowed to teach Tuesday, Danielson said no action had been taken at that time.

“No actions are being taken until the investigation runs its course, which we hope to wrap that up very soon,” Danielson said Tuesday.

The superintendent said he expected the investigation to conclude by the end of the day Tuesday.

The results of the investigation are not yet known.

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