A Wisconsin middle school student facing punishment for “sexual harassment” for refusing to use another student’s preferred pronouns is voicing concern that he will suffer academically in the future.
Rosemary Rabidoux told Fox News she received an unsettling phone call from the principal of the school her son, Braden Rabidoux, attends in recent days informing her of the alleged ‘infraction.’
“I received a phone call from the principal over at the elementary school, forewarning me; letting me know that I was going to be receiving an email with sexual harassment allegations against my son,” she said.
“I immediately went into shock. I’m thinking sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest,” Rabidoux continued. “What has my son done?”
Fox News added:
But none of the concerns Rabidoux had were at issue. Instead, her 13-year-old son, Braden, was accused of using incorrect pronouns to address another student at Kiel Middle School.
“(The investigating principal) said he’s being allegedly charged with sexual harassment for not using proper pronouns,” Rabidoux said. “I thought it wasn’t real. I thought this has got to be a gag, a joke – one has nothing to do with the other.”
Her son, along with a pair of other male students, is being charged by school officials with violating federal Title IX’s prohibitions against gender-based harassment.
The incident allegedly occurred in March when a student said they preferred to be called “they” and “them.”
Rabidoux said her son was merely sticking up for one of his friends.
“She had been screaming at one of Braden’s friends to use proper pronouns, calling him profanity, and this friend is very soft-spoken, and kind of just sunk down into his chair,” Rabidoux said. “Braden finally came up, defending him, saying ‘He doesn’t have to use proper pronouns, it’s his constitutional right to not use, you can’t make him say things.’”
Now, Braden is facing a very disturbing allegation and fears it will prevent him from pursuing higher education.
“I was anxious and scared and upset because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Braden said. “But mostly anxious for my present self and my future self because a charge like that on my record could shatter my chances at getting into a college when I grow up.”
His mother said she was not initially made aware of the allegations and that it took days to notify her.
“I did not know exactly what had happened for three or four days,” she said. “It took three or four days for them to send me the complaint to even find out what it was he had done wrong.”
Now the parents are calling for the charges to be dismissed through an attorney with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
“It’s not sexual harassment under Title IX, under their own policy, under federal law, and it’s probably a First Amendment violation. Almost certainly, if that’s their theory, that solely using the wrong pronoun, that that would be a First Amendment violation,” said Luke Berg, the attorney representing the three boys. He added that [s]exual harassment covers really egregious stuff, not simply using the so-called wrong pronoun. The school’s theory seems to be that any use of a wrong pronoun is automatically punishable speech under Title IX, and if that is truly their position, that is a truly egregious First Amendment violation.”
Rosemary said she finds the entire episode ludicrous.
“This is middle school,” she said. “These guys are kids, they’re learning how to interact with each other, and they’ve been taught all their life to see a girl and use pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her.’ They don’t understand using plural pronouns for one student.
“Schools should be focused on education, on math and science and social studies, and not…pronouns.”