Should public school teachers who make their living off of taxpayer money be allowed to teach children that feelings are more important than truth?
Three teachers in Florida seem to think so.
On Dec. 13th, they filed federal lawsuit claiming a new Florida state law that restricts the use of titles and pronouns at schools is unconstitutional because it discriminates against nonbinary and transgender teachers, according to the News Service of Florida.
A section of the 2023 law states that a school employee “may not provide to a student his or her preferred personal title or pronouns if such preferred personal title or pronouns do not correspond to his or her sex.”
According to USA Today, the Florida law equates sex with a person’s reproductive organs at birth.
The three plaintiffs are two transgender teachers in Hillsborough and Lee counties along with a nonbinary teacher who was terminated in October by Florida Virtual School for refusing to drop the title “Mx.” and the pronouns “they/them,” according to the News Service of Florida.
The crux of the matter, then, is whether feeling trumps reality in Florida’s public school system. If the three teachers filing suit have their way, their feelings take precedence over the fact of their biological sex.
In other words, should kids be taught that they create reality or that they participate in a reality that was here long before they were and will in all likelihood be here long after they and their feelings are gone?
The Bible has an answer to that question. As Psalm 62:9 puts it (ESV): “Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.”
Human vanity is not to be embraced as a virtue but avoided like a plague. Teaching children to embrace the vanity of their feelings is akin to feeding them a poison that blinds.
In the worst case, an adult who’s not a parent introducing children to the world of sex, and to the world of sexual deviation, opens the door to grooming a child for sexual exploitation. Florida’s law can help prevent that.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs claim the law “discriminates against transgender and nonbinary public-school employees and contractors based on sex, by prohibiting them from using the titles and pronouns that express who they are,” according to WUSF.
That’s not all. The lawsuit goes on to claim the law also violates the teachers’ First Amendment rights and civil rights laws.
The 61-page complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, asserts the Florida law violates the First Amendment because it prohibits supposedly non-binary and transgender school employees from foisting onto children titles and pronouns “that express who they are.”
“Florida has stigmatized plaintiffs, threatened their psychological well-being, upended the respect that is owed to them as educators and that is necessary for a safe workplace and functioning classroom, and put their professions and families’ well-being on the line. Florida’s statute must give way to the Constitution and laws of the United States and must not be enforced,” the complaint argued.
Before signing the bill in May, GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lambasted how pronouns were being used in schools.
“We never did this through all of human history until like, what, two weeks ago? Now this is something, they’re having third-graders declare pronouns? We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida. It’s not happening here,” DeSantis said, according to the News Service of Florida.
One of the plaintiffs, a math teacher at a Hillsborough County high school identified as Katie Wood, “transitioned” in 2020, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The transitioning included legally changing Wood’s name and updating official documents to reflect the new name and gender identity, which included her teaching certificate, the lawsuit said.
Wood’s school administrators were reportedly supportive until the new law came down. Then Wood was told not to introduce herself as “Ms. Wood” at school. Instead, she could go by “Teacher Wood,” according to the Sentinel. Wood claimed the demand made her “feel stigmatized” (italics added) and was also awkward and distracting in class. Wood has “great anxiety” that she might lose her job, the lawsuit claimed.
There appears to be way too much feeling and far too little teaching going on in our public schools.
Yes, gender dysphoria exists, but that doesn’t mean it should be normalized. Merriam-Webster defines “dysphoria” as “a state of feeling very unhappy, uneasy, or dissatisfied.” A feeling does not make reality. Attempting to change reality to accommodate a feeling can only lead to further dysphoria.
Why would a teacher want to make students unhappy, uneasy or dissatisfied by teaching them to accept the abnormal as normal? Wouldn’t that be a violation of the students’ rights?
Reality has a way of making itself known. Florida’s law is only recognizing that.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.