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Only on 6: Group of parents wants teacher reprimanded after controversial gender lesson

cambridge health.jpg

A group of parents is planning to ask their school board to reprimand a local health teacher.

The teacher will be returning to the classroom tomorrow after distributing controversial information about gender identity.

Now, parents on both sides of the issue are planning to show up to Thursday's school board meeting.

Sirell Fiel is one of those parents.

“This isn't acceptable and we're not going to tolerate it,” Fiel said.

Fiel believes Cambridge Central School is making the wrong move by allowing the teacher back in the classroom. He received a letter from the district Tuesday informing parents she'd be returning Thursday.

“She's the one that was in the classroom that day, she's the one who allowed this, she's the one who approved this,” Fiel said.

Fiel alerted Cambridge Central School District administrators after he read through the material his 11-year-old son had received from a guest speaker in his 7th grade health class.

The packet labeled 'Gender Identity' included sexual definitions Fiel found inappropriate for his son's age, and the school district agreed.

The health teacher was placed on paid administrative leave last Tuesday, and with the teacher coming back, the district says curriculum being taught will be "closely monitored", but Fiel says he doesn’t feel she was held accountable. He plans to address the school board Thursday night, to ask that the teacher be suspended or even fired.

“I don’t know how she can continue on as a health teacher, she's lost the trust of parents,” Fiel said.

Charlene Betit also plans to attend the school board meeting. She and her son Tyler are in support of the teacher.

“She’s helped me with so much stuff, and if she had lost her job I’d be very upset and wouldn’t know who to turn to in Cambridge,” Tyler Betit said.

Tyler is a high school sophomore, Betit says he's been bullied at the school for being gay since he came out in 7th grade.

“He had a time with what they call a “shadow” because seniors when he was in 8th grade were threatening to beat him up, he was circled in the locker room and told he was a queer,” Betit said.

Charlene and Tyler say they felt some of the information in the packet was unnecessary, but they want to make sure the subject of gender identity isn't left out of the school curriculum because of this controversy.

“This is not a friendly community for people who are gay and I would hope they'd want to change that,” Betit said.

This story has gone viral because of a video Sirell Fiel posted about the controversial lesson on Facebook. Tonight it has more than 800,000 views.

The Cambridge Central School superintendent says the district school has received calls from around the country and world from people voicing their opinion.

Thursday night the school board president is expected to make a statement on the issue at the 7 pm board meeting to be held the in the old cafeteria at Cambridge Central School.

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