Teacher faces ‘personal attack’ on social media over gender/sexuality vocabulary lesson

Veterans School Principal Matt Fox sent an email to parents today alerting them to what he called a “personal attack” on a teacher who was named and tagged in an anonymous post on a local social media page over a lesson on sexuality identity.

Veterans School Principal Matt Fox says a teacher has been subject to a “personal attack” on social media.

“This post and many very hurtful comments were linked directly to the teacher’s social media accounts and included her name within many of the comments, too,” Fox wrote. “This, in my opinion, crossed a serious line from a public debate on state and national standards, to a personal attack.”

The social media post read, “Are there any other MVMS parents that are concerned about this quiz given to the kids in [teacher’s name] ‘wellness’ class? Do parents have a right or our schools an obligation to let families opt out by letting them know in advance? The terminology for male and female in our classrooms has been entirely switched to ‘male assigned at birth’ and ‘female assigned at birth.'”

The post continued: “Has all of society reached an absolute consensus that there is no such thing as biological male and female any longer, such that we are having to explain all of this to our middle school and younger students?”

The post has since been edited to remove the teacher’s name.

The anonymous person included a photo of a “sexuality vocabulary” worksheet identifying terms including transgender, cisgender, queer and LGBTQ+.

An anonymous person posted this worksheet to social media and called out a teacher by name for a lesson on gender identity.

“As part of our health curriculum, we notify parents of sensitive topics and provide them with the opportunity to discuss those topics with me and/or the health teacher or opt their student out of these lessons,” Fox wrote in his email. “The instruction of vocabulary that students may encounter has been misrepresented and tied to false thoughts of ‘indoctrination’ instead of just education.”

Helaine Hazlett, chair of the Marblehead Task Force Against Discrimination, spoke out against the social media post.

“It’s just tremendously upsetting to hear. It’s way out there. It’s certainly overt and troubling to me and our task force. And it’s just on the heels of a program celebrating pride,” Hazlett told the Marblehead Current, referring to the pride flag rising ceremony last weekend.

Superintendent John Buckey also commented, saying “I share Principal Fox’s disappointment. Our community is better than this.” 

Fox encouraged parents to partner with the school community as it teaches state and national standards.

“I would assume that as adults we would support not only the dignity and worth of all our students, but also of our teachers, too,” he added.

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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