Another social justice warrior in academia.
Basic rules of English grammar dictate that singular nouns take singular pronouns and plural nouns take plural pronouns.
So when a fifth-grade teacher requested that students address her with nongendered pronouns such as “they” and “them,” it stirred consternation among parents (if not education officials) in the state’s capital city — and abroad.
Chloe Bressack, a 23-year-old math and science teacher at Canopy Oaks Elementary School in Tallahassee, recently sent a letter to parents that has gone viral on social media and made international headlines.
“One thing you should know about me is that I use gender neutral terms,” Ms. Bressack said in the single-page letter. “My prefix is Mx. (pronounced Mix). Additionally, my pronouns are ‘they, them, their’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.’ I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but in my experience, students catch on pretty quickly.”
Parents, however, didn’t catch on as quickly and complained to the school’s and the school district’s administrators, who expressed support for the young teacher.
Still, Ms. Bressack issued another statement apologizing for any confusion her first letter may have caused.
“My practice in addressing my students is to refer to them by their personal pronouns, be they ‘he, she, or they.’ We work together to create a positive environment of respect and understanding,” the teacher wrote. “I understand that students will not always address me in the way I prefer, and that is okay. We keep moving with a smile and continue on with our learning. In our classroom, our learning and our well-being is the priority. I am lucky to be teaching at Canopy Oaks and I look forward to working with my students this year.”
Her grammar lesson exploded across social networks and attracted the bemused attention of Britain’s Daily Mail and Switzerland’s Ticinonews.
On Tuesday, the Leon County School District announced that Ms. Bressack would be transferred to an adult basic education program effective immediately.
“Given the complexity of this issue, we both agreed a different environment would be best for Teacher Bressack’s educational career and for the young students at Canopy Oaks,” Superintendent Rocky Hanna said in a statement.