(LifeSiteNews) — An elementary school teacher in Glendale, California was suspended after speaking out at a school board meeting in opposition to radical transgender ideology, The Daily Signal reported Tuesday.
“Gender is binary and cannot be changed. Biology is not bigotry. Heterosexuality is not hate,” said Ray Shelton, a fifth grade teacher at Mark Keppel Elementary School in Glendale during an April 18 meeting for the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD)’s school board. Shelton also recently gained national attention for defending biological reality against transgender ideology on an episode of Dr. Phil.
GUSD is the same district that voted to integrate LGBT ideology and celebrations into its classrooms for “pride” month, sparking outrage from parents that boiled over into a widely-reported physical brawl in which largely Armenian and Hispanic dads faced off against leftist counter protesters earlier this week.
Shelton, who has taught for 25 years and openly states that he is homosexual, had argued during the April school board meeting that “[g]ender confusion and gender delusion are deep psychological disorders.”
“No caring professional or loving parent would ever support the chemical poisoning or surgical mutilation of a child’s genitalia,” the teacher told the board.
“Transgender ideology is anti-gay, it is anti-woman, and it is anti-human. It wants to take away women’s sports, women’s rights, women’s achievements – it is misogyny writ large,” he said, before his microphone was turned off as he reached the end of his allotted time.
His comments were met with cheers.
This is Ray Shelton. He is a gay 5th grade teacher at Glendale CA Unified. Ray was removed from his classroom yesterday because he showed the meme of 4 trans flags arranged to look like a swastika at a school board meeting — a clear ironic use of a symbol that is associated with… pic.twitter.com/FmqVstYs2j
— Jordan Henry (@irrationalhenry) April 21, 2023
Shelton, who wore a t-shirt reading “Make Biology Great Again” and held up “Progress Pride” flags arranged to look like a swastika during the meeting, told The Daily Signal he wanted to share “basic, commonsense truths” with the board.
The Daily Signal noted that the “swastika”-style arrangement of the flags “is a familiar meme on social media meant to criticize progressives by arguing that authoritarian measures to compel speech are fascist.”
The morning after the meeting, Shelton was reportedly suspended from his teaching position.
According to Shelton, Principal Kristine Tonoli and a Glendale district administrator came to his classroom at 8 a.m. on April 19 and notified him that, following “several complaints,” he was being placed on leave pending an investigation. He was then escorted off the property and ordered not to come back without a human resources staff member.
However, Shelton has argued that he was notified of his suspension hours before any of the emailed complaints that were provided to him had even been sent.
“All of the emailed complaints provided to The Daily Signal originally were sent after the meeting at 8 a.m. April 19, according to time stamps,” the outlet reported.
One such complaint was sent by fellow teacher Alicia Harris, who claimed that Shelton was “showing off a swastika.”
In addition, rather than notifying parents of Shelton’s suspension using generic terminology, Tonoli sent a letter to parents on April 20 stating she was “deeply saddened by our employee’s actions,” disavowing those actions, and condemning “[h]ate speech and hate symbols.”
Shelton, who said he has received death threats following the meeting and his subsequent suspension, pushed back against the allegations in a formal complaint against Tonoli.
“How am I to get a fair hearing with Kristine Tonoli spreading slanderous lies about me?” he wrote in the complaint.
In response to questions from The Daily Signal, Glendale’s communications director said Tuesday she would “take a look and respond when I get a chance,” adding that, due to a board meeting that night, her “responses may be delayed until tomorrow.”
As of Friday, the outlet’s article has not been updated with another response.
Shelton’s interview with The Daily Signal comes as Glendale recently made headlines for pushback against its decisions to promote LGBT ideology in the classroom.
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, local fathers of Armenian and Hispanic background clashed with far-left activists outside a Glendale school board meeting earlier this week as parents inside the meeting sought to air their concerns about the sexualized content promoted by the district during “pride” month.
Grassroots parental rights group Glendale Unified School District Parents’ Voices (GUSD Parents’ Voices), largely made up of Armenian and Hispanic parents, had expressed strong opposition to the district’s policies on its Instagram page.
Among the lively online conversations about protecting their children from sexual and leftist content at school, the group shared a photo of a display allegedly put up at one of the district’s schools using Black Lives Matter, “Pride,” and fetish symbols to construct a Christian cross.
Another post showed the cover of pro-LGBT children’s book “I Am Jazz,” which a user said was available to children in the district. Representatives of the Armenian and Hispanic families have argued in comments to reporters that children should not be exposed to sexualized materials at young ages.
Shelton has obtained legal representation and argues that the actions taken against him by the district violated his constitutional rights. His attorney, David Pivtorak, has called for Shelton to be allowed to return to his teaching job and for the district to revoke “any and all disciplinary action” and issue a public apology.
A GiveSendGo fundraiser has been set up to help cover Shelton’s legal expenses.