Today the Cobb School District is adjudicating the appeal of a teacher who was fired for reading a transgender book to her class. This hearing began yesterday morning and is likely to be long and hard fought on both sides.
The charges brought by the Cobb School District are insubordination and willful neglect of duties. The school procedure for teachers, who want to use materials that parents may find objectionable, was ignored by Rinderle. Testimony shows that the teacher did not attempt to get a consent form signed by the students’ parents, nor did she inform the parents that the book she chose without their permission was about “gender identity,” “gender fluidity,” and “gender non-binary.”
On March 8th, in a class of 10-11 year-old gifted students, Katie Rinderle read and held a class discussion about the book My Shadow is Purple.
The back cover reads: “My Dad has a shadow that’s blue as a berry, and my Mom’s is as pink as a blossoming cherry. There’s only those choices, a 2 or a 1. But mine is quite different, it’s both and it’s none.”
The cover of the book features a boy wearing pants, but his shadow is wearing a skirt.
The School District said reading the book is inappropriate, but the defense argued it was merely a difference of professional judgement between educators. The defense attorney argued that the Board doesn’t have authority to fire someone for “political reasons,” but only for educational reasons.
“We are here to defend Katie Rinderle from the culture war. We are here to prevent a group of parents from running out a good teacher… This is what happens when politics overtakes education. The politics of outsiders and angry parents do not come into the classroom.”
The defense attorney alleged in his opening argument that parents who were concerned were the ones being “political,” not the teacher. He also made the point that “only a few parents complained.”
The room was full and many of the attendees were wearing purple T-shirts with the words “Ban Bias Not Books”, as if they believe all books are appropriate for elementary school minors.
Audrey Neu, the School Board Liaison for the Cobb GOP, and a Cobb GRA member, helped to keep parental rights supporters informed of the developments of the case and many of them showed up for the hearing to support the school’s decision to terminate Ms. Rinderle’s employment with the school.
“Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to attend day one of the teacher tribunal. Based on the evidence presented and questions asked, it is clear Cobb School District is determined to defend parental rights and maintain educational standards, as defined by the state of Georgia. This is a direct result of the strong leadership Cobb has in place. We will have to wait and see what day two testimony holds,” said Audrey Neu.
The panel deciding this case is made up of retired principals who were appointed by the school board. These retirees are not in an age demographic that is likely to be supportive of sodomy or transgenderism.
The class was for gifted students, sometimes called a target class. Target classes only meet one day a week. One parent testified, that if she had been notified the book My Shadow Is Purple was going to be read, she would have requested her child stay with his regular teacher.
One of the school policies referenced by the prosecution prevents teachers from trying to influence students toward one political party or a partisan side of an issue, however, in 2022 Ms. Rinderle read a book to her students by Stacey Abrams, then candidate for Governor. Rinderle admitted to posting a book review about it on social media, tagging Abrams. Some parents complained about her introducing a book by a political candidate.
Rinderle admitted that her students were doing “service projects” on “LGBTQ+ advocacy,” but she had informed her Principal about it.
The attorney for the school district called Rinderle to the stand as her first witness. Referencing the cover of the book she said: “Would you not agree with me that a skirt is traditionally worn by girls?”
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about a gender norm. Females can wear many different things,” said Rinderle.
Another question had to do with whether Rinderle was aware that transgenderism is a “controversial, hot-button topic,” to which Rinderle replied indicating that she was not aware of that.
“One wonders which is more concerning, that we have a teacher who is indoctrinating children in ideologies that have no basis in reality, or that a teacher employed by Cobb schools is unaware of the national controversy over transgenderism?” said Nathaniel Darnell, a Cobb County parent and the Cobb Republican Assembly Chairman.
“I am deeply disappointed to hear of yet another example of our tax dollars funding the indoctrination of children in woke ideology, but I am grateful that the school district in this case has taken action to protect children and parental rights. I am hopeful they won’t back down,” said Darnell.
After the tribunal the panelists will have five days to present their recommendations to the Board of Education. The Board of Education consists of four Republicans and three Democrats, one of the few areas still controlled by Republicans. The Board is expected to vote on the matter at their August 17th meeting.
The attorney for the teacher’s defense showed that Ms. Rinderle was never trained in or given examples of what a “political or partisan issue” was or what the terms “controversial” or “sensitive” meant.
He compared it to “hot button topics” such as slavery in the South. However, parents today aren’t divided over whether slavery is moral or immoral. Parents do not send complaint emails anytime a teacher talks about the existence of or immorality of slavery.
But morality really is the core of the issue, here. There is a school policy that says that parents have the right to direct the moral and religious views of their children. But experience would show us that a thorough education about the world cannot be neutral. Ethics and morality are inescapable.
The narrative of history, what is considered societal progress, the information a teacher or author chooses to exclude or feature, all of these decisions are impacted by someone’s presuppositions and worldview. Not to mention the questions of which historical characters are the heroes or the villains, and the theory about the origin of the universe.
Is There Really Such a Thing As a “Neutral” Classroom?
The Cobb County School system claims to strive for a “neutral classroom” and yet they cannot be neutral about morality. Questions such as: Should historic slavery be presented as moral or immoral? Should government welfare, increased statist involvement in people’s lives, be considered moral or immoral? Was the Federal Reserve a positive or negative development for American economics? Does absolute truth exist? Does man have a moral obligation to care for the environment? If so, when and how does that moral obligation override property rights?
The answers to all of these kinds of questions hinge on a moral framework, which is in turn based on a theological framework. Each of these subjects, though perhaps addressed only implicitly in a classroom setting, would stem directly from the teachers’ basic standard of morality. Educators simply cannot escape their own worldview as they attempt to teach children about the world in which they live, and the more they attempt to be unbiased and avoid any moral presuppositions, the more boring and meaningless their lesson becomes.
Woke-ism is in fact a facet of a religious or theological viewpoint. Woke-ism defines something considered to be akin to a “sin” in that worldview (racism, intolerance of LGBT-ism, etc.) and then lays out a means of atoning for that sin (e.g., reparations, affirmative action, social justice, special rights for certain identity groups, etc.).
Secular humanism and it’s accompanying statism are also of a religious or theological nature, as has become clear in recent days. “No god will save us,” declared the Humanist Manifesto II (1973), “we must save ourselves.”
It has a competing standard of morality. It has a specific competing belief about the origin of the universe, a belief about God (denying His existence), a belief about salvation (man must save himself), and a method of salvation by which man would save himself — and that method is statism.
Therefore, American civil government schools cannot really be said to be “neutral.” They teach the religion of humanism or a conglomerate of religious views, depending on the teacher.
Humanism invariably leads to statism. G.K. Chesterton hit the nail on the head of statism when he said:
“It is only by believing in God that we can ever criticize the government … Once abolish God, and the government becomes the god. That fact is written all across human history; but it is written most plainly across that recent history of Russia; which was created by Lenin. There the Government is the god, and all the more the god, because it proclaims aloud in accents of thunder, like every other god worth worshipping, the one essential commandment: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods but me!’ “ —G.K. Chesterton
Unlike Christianity and other theologies, Woke-ism’s standard of morality isn’t found in any allegedly inspired holy book. It also is not consistent, since many of the proponents of woke beliefs also adhere to post-modernism and maintain that “what’s true for you, is true for you. What’s true for me, is true for me.”
We maintain, like our founding fathers, that the laws of the United States ought to be based upon a transcendent moral standard: “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” This is a much more consistent standard that protects both the interests of the individual and of the community. A standard of morality based on God’s revealed Law and the laws discovered in nature is anything but neutral and yet provides the greatest liberty and justice the world has ever seen.
When the Cobb County School System strives for “neutrality” in education, they want what never has been, and what never will be.
Transgenderism in the public school system is just one reason why the 2021 Georgia Republican Assembly convention passed a resolution urging all Republican families to remove their children from these harmful institutions and the 14th District GOP passed a similar resolution at their convention earlier this year.
If you would like to encourage the Cobb School Board to uphold the decision to protect children, send them an email saying “Thank you for protecting minor children from transgender indoctrination.”