A freshman football player at Exeter High School in New Hampshire, who is also a practicing Catholic, was suspended from school after saying that there are only two genders.
Now, the teenager’s family is suing the school.
According to the law firm representing the teen, identified in official documents as “M.P.,” the youth did nothing wrong and made use of his constitutional right to express his views.
“M. P. did not harass or demean any student, but simply expressed his views on a contentious cultural issue.”
According to the New Hampshire Journal:
M.P. had an exchange with a progressive student, who is described as not being transgendered, on a school bus. During the conversation, M.P. relayed his belief informed by Catholic teaching that there are two genders, male and female. This exchange was followed by a conversation between the two students over a text messaging app. That’s when the progressive student then got [Exeter Assistant Principal Marcy]Dovholuk involved.
(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
According to the complaint, the “progressive” student printed out the text exchange and handed them to Dovholuk. The latter confronted M.P. with the messages and informed him that he would receive an athletic suspension.
As the New Hampshire Journal reports:
Exeter adopted a Gender Nonconforming Students policy in 2016 that states in part, ‘[a] student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity,’ it also includes a broader rule: ‘the intentional… refusal to respect a student’s gender identity… is a violation of this policy.’
Exeter High School is no stranger to controversy. As the NH journal reports, the school appeared in a report filed by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and the office of the Commissioner for New Hampshire’s Department of Education, in which it was found that school officials put marks on the hands of students at prom to indicate their vaccination status.
In addition, it was revealed that Andres Mejia, the district’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice, is on the leadership team of a local Black Lives Matter chapter.
“The complaint alleges the district is violating M.P. ‘s rights under Article 22 of the New Hampshire Bill of Rights, which protects his right to free speech,” the NH Journal reports. “The suit also argues the school had no legal ability to punish M. P. for the content of his off-campus text messages.”
In a similar case, on Tuesday, the Loudoun County school board reversed the suspension of a gym coach who refused to use a student’s preferred pronouns.