Lawsuit filed against Suffolk school district alleges student was bullied after teacher forced girl to use male pronouns
A lawsuit filed against the Brookhaven-Comsewogue Union Free School District claims that a teacher forced a 9-year-old girl to use male pronouns even though the child identifies as a female.
According to the lawsuit, the incident happened at Terryville Road Elementary School over a period of several months.
Debra Wabnik, the lawyer representing the girl's family, says the student was bullied and had suicidal feelings.
She says the teacher told the student to "try being gay." The teacher is also accused of calling the girl a male name.
"The teacher had some kind of agenda to have these students have alternate sexual preferences or gender identities they may or may not have had," Wabnik says.
In response, the district superintendent, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, wrote, "The district will not and cannot respond to the unproven allegations made in those reports - we will not litigate this matter in the press. What the district will do is vigorously defend itself and allow the judicial process to unfold as is appropriate."
Sarah Cordova, a mother who says both her children had the teacher named in the lawsuit, and that the teacher would never do anything to harm one of her students.
"I think the lawsuit probably has no basis whatsoever, but I think the bigger issue is how we treat marginalized voices in our school district and in our community," Cordova says.
The school district is not giving any information about the status of the teacher, but News 12 was told she is still in the classroom.
The attorney says a specific figure has not yet been determined, but they are seeking financial compensation.
The LGBT Network says they are supporting the teacher - saying the allegations are false and the focus should be on the bullying that happened.