EXETER, New Hampshire (LifeSiteNews) — A New Hampshire high school freshman said he received a one-game suspension from the school’s football team for saying there are only two genders in text messages exchanged with another student.
The anonymous student, identified in official documents as “M.P.,” is now suing Exeter High School for violating his First Amendment rights after being suspended from the team “both for failing to recognize another student’s gender pronouns and using inappropriate language in his texts.”
The school found that M.P. had violated its 2016 Gender Nonconforming Students policy, which “states in part, ‘[a] student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.’ The policy also includes a broader rule, the New Hampshire Journal reported: “the intentional… refusal to respect a student’s gender identity.”
According to M.P.’s lawsuit, controversy began when he “told friends on the bus that he could not see how plural pronouns for an individual” could be used by Spanish speakers “when the language relies on masculine and feminine identifiers,” as Brooke Migdon reported for The Hill.
A female student (who reportedly does not identify as transgender) overheard the conversation and then told M.P. “there are more than two genders, to which he replied: ‘No there isn’t: there’s only two genders,’” Migdon continued.
The lawsuit then alleged that “the female student later sent him a series of text messages pressing him on gender,” beginning a “contentious” exchange.
The female student then printed out their text message conversation and gave it to Exeter Assistant Principal Marcy Dovholuk, who, according to Breibart, “confronted M.P. with the messages and informed him that he would receive an athletic suspension.”
According to the lawsuit, M.P. does not deny violating the school’s policy, but he insists that he “will never refer to any individual person using plural pronouns such as ‘they,’ using contrived pronouns such as ‘ze,’ or with any similar terminology that reflects values which (the student) does not share.”
According to M.P.’s legal representation, the Christian advocacy non-profit Cornerstone, “M. P. did not harass or demean any student but simply expressed his views on a contentious cultural issue.”
The suit argues that “the district is violating M.P. ‘s rights under Article 22 of the New Hampshire Bill of Rights, which protects his right to free speech,” the NH Journal reported. The action also maintains that the school has no legal ability to punish M. P. for off-campus text messages.
Exeter High School attracted controversy earlier this year for using Sharpies to color-code students’ hands according to their vaccination status, reportedly prompting parents to liken the practice to those of Nazi Germany.
The NH Journal also reported that “the district’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice, Andres Mejia, is part of the leadership team of the Black Lives Matter Seacoast organization.”
On Monday, the Loudoun County school board agreed in a settlement to reverse the suspension and pay the legal fees of Byron “Tanner” Cross, the Leesburg Elementary School gym teacher who was put on leave in May for criticizing a newly adopted school district policy, Policy 8040, which requires transgender students to be addressed by their preferred pronouns.