by Benjamin Yount
Asking questions is not bullying, and pointing out the law does not constitute creating chaos.
And no one supported the threats made against Kiel Schools.
Rick Esenberg with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty responded to claims that his group bullied Kiel school leaders over its misgendering investigation into three middle school boys, and unleashed a national campaign of chaos that led to a wave of threats against the school district.
“Putting aside the unresolved question of whether Title IX even covers gender identity or whether the First Amendment even permits such a charge to be based on the refusal to say what the government wants you to say, the mere use of disfavored pronouns does not create an environment ‘so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to education, which is a precondition to a charge of harassment under Title IX,” Esenberg wrote in a weekend op-ed at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Esenberg responded to criticism from Journal Sentinel opinion columnist Kristen Brey who essentially blamed WILL for the threats and anger toward the school district.
“While Brey insinuates that there would have been no threats had we not ‘unleashed’ a national campaign (I wish we had that power to dictate what news organizations will cover), this is true only in the very quotidian sense that, if no one knew about what the district was doing, then no one would have done anything,” Esenberg wrote. “Unlike much of what is routinely reported, our public commentary was as accurate and complete as we could make it, was well within the bounds of civility, and carefully pointed out why we thought the district was legally wrong.”
Kiel Schools announced last week that it closed its investigation into the three boys, citing the threats to the school district and the community.
Kiel Schools, however, did not say what the investigation found or what happened to the three boys.
“Brey says it is ironic that we ‘use’ the chaos caused by whomever made these threats to ‘bully’ the school district in a dispute about bullying. I don’t know how to put this nicely. She’s making it up. We never used this ‘chaos’ to ‘bully’ anyone. In fact, we told the district that we did not expect it to change its position in light of threats,” Esenberg wrote at the end of his op-ed.
“But we could not stand down either – any more than the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would cease reporting on allegations of, say, racism in a public school or any more than Brey would withdraw her less than fully-informed criticism of WILL.”
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