A teacher at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Florida is in quite a pickle after reportedly giving a transgender student a horrible ultimatum: to use male pronouns or switch classes. According to the student, she emailed her math teacher Thomas Caggiano, asking him to refer her with female pronouns.
Caggiano refused to do so, writing “I will NOT refer to you with female pronouns. If this is not acceptable for you, change classes. I will call you by any reasonable name you like, but the pronouns are not a negotiable thing for me.” The emails were quickly posted on social media and have since sparked outrage from students and outside commentators. They quickly brought the messages to the school’s board for attention.
Duval County Public Schools, which Sandalwood High is part of, released a statement saying they regretted the teacher’s conduct but hoped they could learn from the “incident” and move forward using this as a teachable moment. They will give additional diversity training for the school teachers. The school district’s policy has some rules around transgender students including addressing the students by the pronoun they feel comfortable with and allowing students to wear clothing consistent with their gender identity.
Unfortunately, the school has not made any comment in regards to Caggiano’s current employment status, but he is still listed on the school’s faculty page. Which is devastating because this student will probably see this teacher every day, and remember his nasty comments.
In all seriousness, just call people whatever they want to be called, have some respect. This is disgusting, and this teacher should be highly ashamed of himself. You don’t have to agree with other people’s choices in regards to their gender or sexual preference, but you should respect their wishes. Why? Because at the end of the day, it’s their choice. Not yours. Stop being bullies. This is why so many children are scared to talk to adults whenever they have a problem.
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Author: Silke Jasso
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