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A bomb threat closed all schools in a Wisconsin school district Monday, days after three middle schoolers found themselves under investigation for refusing to address their non-binary classmate by their preferred pronouns.
Kiel Middle School received the threat during school hours, at roughly 12:45 pm, shortly after police announced they were working to investigate ‘threatening communications’ toward district staff regarding the sexual harassment probe.
The article goes on to state the following:
The students, all aged 13 and all enrolled at Kiel Middle, were all hit with a formal complaint earlier this month, for referring to the unnamed student as ‘she’ or ‘her,’ rather than ‘they’ or ‘them.’
The incident has garnered national news coverage, thrusting the small Kiel Area School District into the spotlight and a national debate.
WBAY describes the incident:
In April, the parents of the three boys were notified their sons were being charged by school district officials with sexual harassment. A section of Title IX prohibits gender-based harassment in the form of name-calling on the basis of sex.
The district claims the boys were not referring to a student’s requested pronouns of “they” and “them.”
Through a letter from their attorney, the parents are asking for the charges to be dropped immediately, saying they have no standing legally.
“It’s not sexual harassment under Title IX, under their own policy, under federal law, and it’s probably a First Amendment violation. Almost certainly, if that’s their theory, that solely using the wrong pronoun, that that would be a First Amendment violation,” Luke Berg with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said.
There has been public outcry over the incident, and the Daily Mail notes: “Directly before Monday’s threat, which saw all three schools evacuated, City of Kiel Police Chief Dave Funkhouser revealed the district had been receiving a stream of ‘extremely vulgar, hateful, and disturbing’ threats since the case went public.”
“I just wish everyone would calm down and start taking so we can try and resolve these issues peacefully and the anger and hatred that’s being spread on this issue is really disheartening,” Funkhouser said.
In response to police concerns over the safety of a school board meeting scheduled for Monday, the board opted to change a live meeting to a virtual platform and move the date of that meeting.
The board announced:
“On behalf of the Kiel Area School District Board of Education, in light of recent attention brought to the school district and the volatility of the situation, law enforcement is concerned for the safety of all involved, including staff, citizens and board members, and have recommended to the KASD Board of Education to cancel/postpone the board meeting that was scheduled for Monday, May 23, 2022. The board met today and decided to move the meeting to Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 4 pm. This will be a virtual only meeting. There will not be an onsite meeting that day.
“Information about board meetings, including a feedback form can be found on the School Board Webpage.
”Thank you for the continued support of our school.”
Funkhouser says the delay may give parties time to “cool off” and “hopefully allow for logical, rational, and meaningful dialogue to occur.”
— WBAY-TV 2 (@WBAY) May 23, 2022
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