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District transfers teacher who uses gender-neutral pronouns

The letter sent home by a Canopy Oaks Elementary teacher to a fifth grade class, requesting to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns. [Courtesy of Leon County Schools]

The letter sent home by a Canopy Oaks Elementary teacher to a fifth grade class, requesting to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns. [Courtesy of Leon County Schools]

TALLAHASSEE — A fifth-grade teacher made national headlines last week for sending home a note requesting students to use gender neutral pronouns when they address the teacher.

Now, Chloe Bressack is being transferred from Canopy Oaks Elementary School to another program in the district, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Chris Petley, spokesman for the Leon County School District, said Tuesday that Bressack will be transferred to the Adult and Community Education campus to teach in its adult education program, the Democrat reported.

The transition takes effect immediately.

The LCS administration reported meeting with Bressack multiple times this week before the decision was announced.

"This afternoon I had an open conversation with Teacher Bressack. Given the complexity of the issue, we both agreed a different environment would be best for Teacher Bressack's educational career and for the young students at Canopy Oaks," Superintendent Rocky Hanna said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I respect the courage Chloe has shown through this ordeal and I am confident Teacher Bressack will do wonderful work with students in the adult basic education program. Although not easy, I honestly believe this change is best for everyone involved."

Bressack, per the statement, is declining media interviews.

District officials said a "handful" of students were transferred out of Bressack's classroom after the note was sent home, the Democrat reported.

Bressack sent the letter to parents, requesting students use gender-neutral pronouns such as "they, them and their," instead of "he, his, she and hers" and also asked to be referred to as Mx. (pronounced Mix).

"My priority is for all my students to be comfortable in my classroom and have a space where they can be themselves while learning," Bressack wrote.

Following the letter's distribution, Leon County Schools issued a statement in which Bressack apologized "for any confusion" it had caused, according to the Democrat.

"My practice in addressing my students is to refer to them by their personal pronouns, be they 'he, she, or they,' Bressack said in the statement. "We work together to create a positive environment of respect and understanding. I understand that students will not always address me in the way I prefer, and that is okay. We keep moving with a smile and continue on with our learning. In our classroom, our learning and our well-being is the priority."

Contact Samantha Putterman at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @samputterman.

District transfers teacher who uses gender-neutral pronouns 09/27/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:32pm]
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