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Gender Nonbinary Teacher Transferred After Pronoun Controversy

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Outrage among parents erupted after Mx. Bressack sent a letter home with students outlining their preferred pronouns. 

A fifth grade teacher from Tallahassee, Florida has been transferred to adult education after asking students and parents to use gender-neutral pronouns in the classroom.

Chloe Bressack sent a letter home with students at the beginning of the school year, informing parents that they identified with the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/theirs and preferred to be addressed as Mx. (pronounced "mix") instead of Ms. or Miss. "I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural," the letter reads, "but in my experience students catch on pretty quickly."

The letter became controversial when an upset parent posted it to the Tally Moms Stay Connected Facebook group. A heated debate followed in the comments, with socially conservative parents outraged that the "liberal agenda" was attempting to corrupt their children. Some parents understood it to mean Bressack would be referring to their children using only gender-neutral pronouns and were confused why a teacher would refuse to acknowledge their child's identity.

"I'm sorry, but there is no such thing as gender neutral," one parent wrote under the original post.

Canopy Oaks Principal Paul Lambert initially said he and the school were in full support of Mx. Bressack, though he continued to misgender them in statements released by the Leon County School District. "We support her preference in how she's addressed," one statement reads. "I think a lot of times it might be decided that there is an agenda there, because of her preference--I can tell you her only agenda is teaching math and science at the greatest level she can."

In the same release, Bressack attempted to clear up confusion among parents about their classroom policies. "My practice in addressing my students is to refer to them by their personal pronouns, be they he, she, or they," Bressack said. "We work together to create a positive environment of respect and understanding."

Pressure on the school mounted as more conservative parents began to pull their children from Bressack's classroom, and the district found itself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately, the decision was made to transfer Bressack to the district's adult education program.

"This afternoon I had an open conversation with Teacher Bressack," Hanna announced in a statement. "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."

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