An investigation was launched into three middle school students from Wisconsin for calling a classmate by the wrong pronouns.
Three eighth-graders at the Kiel Middle School have been charged with sexual harassment after an incident in which the students refused to use “they” to refer to a classmate who had switched pronouns a month before, according to reports.
Rosemary Rabidoux, whose 13-year-old son Braden is one of the students, said “I received a phone call from the principal …forewarning me, letting me know that I was going to be receiving an email with sexual harassment allegations against my son”.
“I immediately went into shock,” she told Fox 11. “I’m thinking sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest. What has my son done?”
‘(The investigating principal) said he’s being allegedly charged with sexual harassment for not using proper pronouns,” she continued. “I thought it wasn’t real. I thought this has got to be a gag, a joke — one has nothing to do with the other”.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is defending the students, claiming that misuse of pronouns is not covered by Title IX, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education.
“Title IX sexual harassment typically covers things like rape, dating violence, quid pro quo sexual favors; really egregious stuff,” said WILL deputy counsel Luke Berg.
“The charge against students for sexual harassment is an extreme abuse of the Title IX process,” he added. “It’s totally inappropriate and is totally being mishandled by the school district”.
“She had been screaming at one of Braden’s friends to use proper pronouns, calling him profanity, and this friend is very soft-spoken, and kind of just sunk down into his chair,” Rabidoux explained.
“Braden finally came up, defending him, saying ‘He doesn’t have to use proper pronouns, it’s his constitutional right to not use, you can’t make him say things,'” she added.