Local teacher reinstated after refusing to use fancy pronouns, suspended district policy – WPXI

BEAVER COUNTY, Father. – More than 400 people gathered in the auditorium at the South Side Area School District in Beaver County on Wednesday night.

The majority there supported biology and anatomy teacher Daren Cusato. Cusato was suspended last week after refusing to refer to transgender students with their preferred pronoun, citing religious beliefs.

More than 40 people spoke at the meeting, most of them in favor of Cusato’s rehabilitation.

“My uncle Daren is standing up for what is right, even though he is standing alone. I am absolutely ashamed that the South Side School District has taken this authoritarian stance in choosing to fit in one percent,” his granddaughter said.

“I stand here tonight to ask you to separate these two: the divisive but trendy subject of pronouns and the precedent you are setting, which is that teachers need to revise their engagement with student based on how that student feels,” said another.

One woman mocked the school district for what she said was fear of “being sued.”

“We should not be afraid of being sued. Strong. If you want to sue us, sue us. Take it to the Supreme Court. Take it all in,” she said.

Others sided with the school’s decision.

“Transgender students have the right to be identified by their chosen name, their pronoun. School staff have to use that name,” one woman said.

Another focused on Cusato’s popularity, telling the panel it didn’t matter in the decision-making process.

“If we allow a teacher, especially one with a highly regarded reputation, to model that these children do not deserve to be acknowledged for who they are, the children we are trying to trying to protect is in even greater danger,” she said.

In the end, the majority got their wish. The district reinstated Cusato and suspended the policy that students must be introduced using their chosen pronoun.

The board plans to write a new policy on the topic at a future meeting.

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