A teacher has labelled a student as despicable for refusing to accept that her classmate identifies as a cat.
According to The Telegraph:
The 13-year-old girl and her friend were reprimanded by their teacher at Rye College, in East Sussex, on Friday at the end of a Year 8 class on “life education” in which they were told they can “be who you want to be and how you identify is up to you”.
The row, which has infuriated parents, was allegedly sparked by one of them asking a fellow pupil: “How can you identify as a cat when you’re a girl?”
Their teacher told them they were being reported to a senior leader and were no longer welcome at the school, part of the Aquinas Trust, a Church of England network of 11 schools, if they continued to express the view that only boys and girls exist.
‘They are genuinely unwell – crazy’
The Telegraph has heard a recording of the heated exchange taken by one of the pupils, in which the teacher starts by saying “how dare you – you’ve just really upset someone” by “questioning their identity”.
The pupil responded: “If they want to identify as a cat or something then they are genuinely unwell – crazy.”
The teacher then asks the girls “where did you get this idea from that there are only two genders”, adding: “It is not an opinion.”
The teacher said that “gender is not linked to the parts that you were born with, gender is about how you identify, which is what I said right from the very beginning of the lesson.”
She added that “there is actually three biological sexes because you can be born with male and female body parts or hormones” and “there are lots of genders – there is transgender, there is agender who are people who don’t believe that they have a gender at all”.
The girls said they “don’t agree with that” and that you “can’t have” agender because “if you have a vagina you’re a girl and if you have a penis you’re a boy – that’s it”.
The teacher interjected in a raised voice: “What do you mean you can’t have it? It’s not a law … Cisgender is not necessarily the way to be – you are talking about the fact that cisgender is the norm, that you identify with the sexual organ you were born with, that’s basically what you’re saying, which is really despicable.”
The teacher suggested they were homophobic and confused, which the girls denied. When the pupils said their mothers would be on their side, the teacher responded: “Well that’s very sad as well then.”
The teacher said that “if you don’t like it you need to go to a different school”, adding: “I’m reporting you to [senior staff], you need to have a proper educational conversation about equality, diversity and inclusion because I’m not having that expressed in my lesson.”
The Telegraph has contacted the school and the trust for comment.
The parent of the pupil who took the recording expressed fury online and thanked “those who have been kind and supportive” to her daughter.
A parent of another Year 8 pupil at the school who has received the same lesson told The Telegraph: “I understand the point the teacher was attempting to make, what bothers me is the shutting down of debate in such a threatening and aggressive manner, which I don’t believe is appropriate in an educational setting.
“Regardless of the subject, education should serve to build awareness of differing points of view to widen the understanding of a subject. It shouldn’t be a case of indoctrination.”