Oregon Teachers Fired After Contacting Ben Shapiro About Trans Bathroom Policy
Two teachers in Oregon have been fired after reaching out to political commentator Ben Shapiro about trans bathroom policy.
Assistant Principal Rachel Damiano and Science teacher Katie Medart were fired from North Middle School after they violated the district’s policy of using school facilities to work on a political campaign.
The two members of staff had reached out to right-wing controversial commentator Ben Shapiro to enquire whether he would consider being a ‘voice’ for their movement, which they had established to declare their belief that students should use bathrooms that correspond with their birth gender. It also opposed legislation that would mean teachers would have to use students’ preferred pronouns.
As per Fox News, the teachers wrote in an email:
We would be honored if you and your team would consider our resolution as an alternative policy option to the proposed Equality Act or other state legislation regarding gender identity policies and would be willing to be a voice in our movement for this resolution.
The teachers believed that ‘anatomically-correct’ bathrooms should be used unless single person ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms were built. As a result, the teachers created the ‘I Resolve Movement’, creating a website and posting a video in the process.
Ray Hacke, a lawyer for the pair, said:
Because there was a backlash from fellow employees and community members who didn’t like what they had to say you know the district basically threw them under the bus.
People are allowed to have discussions with people about political topics on their own time. I’m sure there are people in the lunchroom who talked about Trump versus Biden.
In response to the campaign, one middle school student started a petition for the staff to be fired. A subsequent independent investigation found the teachers were using school equipment to launch a political campaign. A vote was then held by the school board, and members voted 4-3 in favour of contract termination.
The investigation noted:
While Ms. Damiano did not like referring to ‘I Resolve’ as a political campaign, her efforts both in the video regarding legislation and through the stated purpose of ‘I Resolve’ showed it was a political campaign. This was specifically demonstrated in emails she sent to Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro.
To appeal the termination, the teachers are claiming that the campaigning ‘occurred off-campus using private property not district-owned property or district-owned emails’. As a result, their lawyer told News 10 that the teachers should have ‘a letter of reprimand or something certainly not firing’.
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