A Catholic student who was suspended from a football game after telling a classmate that “there are only two genders” has brought legal action against a school in the US state of New Hampshire.
The high school student, only identified as M.P, was discussing with a friend the difficulty of addressing a non-binary person in Spanish while on the school bus, when another student interrupted to challenge M. P’s views.
In the Spanish language, there are designated female and male pronouns, and a “neutral” pronoun does not exist.
The conversation then turned into a debate over text messages which were later given to school administrators who decided to give M.P a one-game suspension from his football team for “not respecting pronouns”.
In 2016, the school implemented a policy that granted students the right to be “addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity” and it stated that “the intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student's gender identity is a violation of this policy”.
Now M.P together with his mother have filed a lawsuit against Exeter High School and its vice principal Marcy Dovholuk arguing the suspension violated the student’s right to free speech.
Represented by Cornerstone Action, a non-profit Christian organisation, the family is seeking nominal damages and an injunction barring the school from enforcing the policy, which they claim violates the First Amendment.
So far, only Superintendent David Ryan, head of the New Hampshire School Administrative Unit has issued a brief statement.
'We are in the process of reviewing this complaint with legal counsel and will be able to share a statement once we have completed that review,' Ryan said.
Premier has contacted the school for comment.