High school teacher under fire for letter refuting students’ gender identity


WATERTOWN, SD (KSFY/Gray News) – A South Dakota teacher is under scrutiny after he released a letter to students Monday refuting their gender identity.

“We asked a high school faculty member to distribute a letter to four different students. This letter dealt with the gender identity of the students,” Watertown School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Danielson said.

The superintendent says the school district does not support the actions taken by the Watertown High School teacher.

“Our response so far has been that the school district does not support these actions of the faculty member,” Danielson said. “We do not support any form of discrimination against our students. We want to make sure we create a safe learning environment for every child who comes through our doors.

Amy Rambow is the mother of a high school student and the president and founder of the LGBTQ+ group Watertown Love. She was able to share a copy of the letter one of the students received with Dakota News Now.

A Student Received This Letter From The Teacher Addressing Them As Their Dead Name, Then Crossed It Out(Dakota News Now)

“So the letter talks a lot about religion, about their identity and their feelings, about how they can’t rely on how they feel. Very transphobic,” Rambow said.

The letter also mentions a DVD that claims to explain things with “spiritual facts as well as scientific facts.”

Danielson says the school district is investigating the matter and a text has been sent to parents advising them of the situation.

“As of this morning we have been investigating the situation, trying to get a full picture of what happened yesterday and some of the actions that were taken by the staff member,” Danielson said.

Rambow says she wants the situation dealt with quickly.

“We just hope it gets handled appropriately and quickly and not swept under the rug,” Rambow said.

When asked if the teacher in question was still authorized to teach on Tuesday, Danielson said no action had been taken at that time.

“No action is taken until the investigation has run its course, which we hope to conclude very soon,” Danielson said Tuesday.

The superintendent said he expects the investigation to be complete by the end of the day Tuesday.

The results of the investigation are not yet known.

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