Washington teacher disciplines students for wearing 'there are only two genders' t-shirt

“My mom's the one who made the shirt, so she probably wears, yeah, she does wear 'em too.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Students at Klahowya Secondary School in Silverdale, Washington were taken to the office by a teacher for wearing shirts to school that said “There are only two genders.” Additionally, students reported that an American flag was taken down on Flag Day but a Pride flag was allowed to remain.

According to the Washington Chapter of Gays Against Groomers (GAG), last week, a group of 6 students wore the shirts to school. Other students in school wanted the shirts as well so the mother who made the original shirts made almost 100 more.

The principal, Scott McDaniel, sent out a message to staff obtained by GAG, stating that the shirts did not violate the school’s dress code and that students were allowed to wear them.

“Most of you are probably aware or have seen some of our students wearing there are only two gender shirts. These shirts are within our dress code and students do have the right to wear them in accordance with freedom of speech.”

“If it becomes a substantial disruption to the learning environment, please let Admin know and we will work with the student. Students should not be asked to cover the shirt, turn it inside out or not wear it.”

However, videos obtained by the group allegedly showed students being disciplined by a staff member.

In the video, the teacher is escorting the students wearing the shirts to the office and the teens ask what they did wrong. The teacher replied, “Expression is when you include people, it's different than excluding people. That becomes hate speech when you're excluding people.”

The students objected saying “It’s just a shirt.”

The teacher replied, “If you have to say ‘it's just,’ that usually means there's a wrong intention.”

One of the students retorted, “If you wanna ask my mom, you can.”

“I'm asking you,” the teacher responded. “You're the one wearing the shirt, not your mom.”

The student said, “My mom's the one who made the shirt, so she probably wears, yeah, she does wear 'em too.”  

The teacher can then be heard asking another staff member, “Is any administration on this?”

The other staff member can be heard saying that students were being told to turn their shirts inside out. One of the students replied that is what they were in the process of doing when the teacher instructed them to go to the office.

One of the students then asked why other students could wear "pride stuff" but they could not wear their shirts.

The teacher replied, “Exactly! Pride is saying ‘I include everybody. Yours is saying I exclude anybody except these two people. They're including everybody.”

The students objected and one said, “So they have rights that we don't.”

The teacher quickly attempted to backtrack and said, “No, no, no. Wait, listen to me. There's inclusion, which means including everybody. There's exclusion, which means telling people they don't belong. Do you understand the difference between that? Do you understand?”

The teacher then grilled the students on the definitions of “inclusion” and “exclusion” and then told the students that “Pride” meant “inclusion” but their shirts using the word “only” meant “excluding.”

One of the students replied, “But that doesn’t make sense. There are only two genders…” but then was promptly cut off by the teacher who said, “No! Biologically, that’s not true! Scientifically, that’s not true.”

In a statement to The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio KVI, the superintendent's office said, "Staff should allow the students to wear the shirts. The students were allowed to wear the shirts," adding that "The district science and sexual health curriculum is in alignment with the standards as established by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction." 

Additionally, the office claimed that "No student discipline was applied in this instance." In a follow-up response, the office told Hoffman, "The assistant principal asked the students to go to class which resulted in no discipline. Following these conversations, the assistant principal communicated with staff regarding the shirts and that the shirts did not violate dress code.

Following this incident, a parent told Hoffman that for Flag Day, students hung an American flag on a wall of the school’s commons underneath an LGBTQIA flag.

According to students, the flag was taken down and the students put up another which was also taken down. GAG, parents, and community members urged people to respectfully contact the school and ask for an explanation.

The superintendent's office told Hoffman, "Staff interacted with students about the process for posting items in school hallways. The student removed the American flag that they had posted. The student then went through the posting process and the student's American flag is now on display."

In a follow-up statement, the office added, "The district is aware of students who were using a microwave cart (with wheels) to post the United States flag. A staff member engaged with the students to talk about the process for posting items in school hallways. In addition, the flag was not posted in accordance with Federal Flag Code guidelines. We asked the students to remove the flag until we could meet with them to complete the approval process. The staff member did not want the student to use the microwave cart with wheels again, so a ladder was provided by the staff member (as shown in the attached photo) so the student could safely remove the flag. The students removed their flag." 
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