Pronoun lawsuit sparks dueling protests outside Port Jefferson Station elementary school
There were dueling protests Monday outside Norwood Avenue Elementary School in Port Jefferson Station in the wake of a lawsuit that claims a fifth-grade girl was forced by a teacher to use male pronouns against her will.
Lawsuit filed against Suffolk school district alleges student was bullied after teacher forced girl to use male pronouns
The family of the student filed the lawsuit against Brookhaven-Comsewogue Union School District, which claims the girl was later bullied and expressed suicidal feelings.
In response, the district superintendent Jennifer Quinn, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, wrote last week, "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."
Moms for Liberty and supporters of their cause say the child was being groomed and indoctrinated by her teacher. They say the topic of sexual and gender identity does not belong in elementary school and the teacher named in the lawsuit should be fired.
The other group of protesters were led by the LGBT Network says the teacher did everything right and should be supported.
"They're the ones indoctrinating our kids and our communities with hate and that is not OK and we're not going to allow it," says David Kilmnick, of the LGBT Network. "Not in our town, not on our Long Island, not ever."
Brianna Richardson, of Moms for Liberty, says that their cause has nothing to do with LGBT rights.
"This all has to do with the fact that children need to be protected in schools, they do not deserve to be groomed, indoctrinated or anything like that," Richardson says.
The protests took place ahead of a school board meeting that both groups attended.
During the meeting, the superintendent addressed the issue.
"I do understand there is a lot of information in the news and a lot of it is extremely serious," Quinn said. "I understand your child is the most important thing in the world. Your children are extremely important to us. That's why we're here. I'm hoping at the end of this we will at least come to an understanding."
Quinn also said just because there is a lawsuit, that does not mean the accusations are accurate.
The school district would not discuss the teacher's job status citing pending litigation.