A Georgia teacher who lost her job and was fired after reading a book that contained a gender ideology message to 10-year-olds is suing her former employer with the help of the local teachers union.

Katherine “Katie” Rinderle was a teacher at Due West Elementary School in the Cobb County School District for more than a decade until she was fired for introducing gender ideology to students, despite having earned tenure.

The district has a policy in place that restricts teachers from discussing topics that are “controversial,” “divisive” and “sensitive.” The lawsuit, filed Friday, says the policies and firing were creating a stifling environment for teachers to create inclusive classrooms.

Rinderle’s lawsuit, supported by the Georgia Educators Association, does not dispute that she had read the book “My Shadow is Purple” to students.

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unemployed georgia teacher gender ideology fired

Georgia teacher ‘remains unemployed’ after exposing children to gender ideology in schools. (MSNBC-Screenshot/YouTube | Adobe Stock)

The book “teaches children about non-binary identities,” according to a review by Social Justice Books.

“It is important that the fact that the child is non-binary is not portrayed in a negative way or criticized by their parents. This shows how parents can support and increase their children’s confidence. The author has positive messages for people who are different,” the review states. continued.

However, not all parents felt the same.

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For example, during Rinderle’s hearing in August, one mother said she was “disgusted” by reading the book, especially since she couldn’t be the first to mention the topic to her son.

Additionally, the district found Rinderle to be “adversarial,” “untrue” and “deceptive,” according to Director of Evaluations and Employee Relations Christopher Dowd.

Georgia Professor Katie Rinderle Lawsuit

Georgia teacher Katie Rinderle read the children’s book “My Shadow is Purple” to her fifth grade students. (August 10, 2023)

The lawsuit argued that the former elementary school teacher did not teach students gender ideology per se, simply read the children a book on the topic, and did not discuss the issue after the fact. The complaint further places the origins of the book’s reading in children, saying that the students requested that the book be read in class.

Dowd, during her testimony at the August hearing, alleged that “a lesson was taught about gender identity and gender fluidity. We are also concerned that Ms. Rinderle has presented her own personal feelings on the matter.”

He also said he found in his defense that the students allegedly selected the book to show a lack of responsibility.

“There wasn’t a moment where she accepted that as a teacher she would be responsible for anything that came into the classroom,” Dowd said. “I never heard her ask about the students… The concerns were always self-directed.”

Rinderle was initially placed on administrative leave while it was investigated whether her conduct violated district policy. The Cobb County School Board voted in August to fire Rinderle, and the Georgia Board of School Education confirmed the termination Thursday.

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The lawsuit argued that the district’s “vague censorship policies allow for arbitrary, discriminatory, and retaliatory enforcement against educators… who support LGBTQ students.”

“Rinderle has been fired simply for reading an award-winning children’s book, written from the perspective of a gender-nonconforming student, to her fifth grade students,” she continued.

Therefore, the district’s actions, the lawsuit argued, were causing concern among teachers who wanted to present LGBTQ content to students.

“The defendants’ censorship policies, practices, and actions, as described herein, prohibit teachers from… presenting information about gender identities and/or expressions that do not conform to sexual stereotypes,” the statement says. demand.

cobb school district my shadow is purple

Mom says she disliked the book on gender ideology that was presented to her son. (Screenshot/YouTube)

A teacher currently employed by the district was also named as a plaintiff and sought changes to the district’s interpretation or application of its policies.

“Defendants’ censorship policies and their application of policies to prohibit, under penalty of dismissal, teachers from discussing topics, presenting material, or otherwise providing age-appropriate information to students about individuals whose gender expression, gender identities and/or sexual orientation violate sexual stereotypes, sexual discrimination is prohibited,” the lawsuit says.

The district was contacted for comment and did not immediately respond in time for publication.

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“Rinderle remains unemployed and is still recovering from the ‘shock of having been so praised in my career that he suddenly disappeared,'” said the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represents Renderle.

“Cobb County district leadership has weaponized her vague censorship policies to fire Katie Rinderle and caused fear and confusion among Cobb County educators who want safe, inclusive classrooms for their students,” said Michael Tafelski. , senior supervising attorney for the SPLC.

By Sam