A Christian physical education teacher in Florida says he’s been threatened with punishment for not agreeing to watch over and supervise a biologically female trans-identified student in the boys’ locker room.
Dozens of residents in Pasco County, Florida voiced their outrage at a school board meeting on Tuesday over the school district’s stance allowing trans-identified students to use locker rooms and showers consistent with their gender identity, The Tampa Bay TimesReports.
Many of the residents at the meeting go to the same church congregation as Robert Oppedisano, a PE teacher at Chasco Middle School in Port Richey.
The pro-bono conservative Christian legal nonprofit Liberty Counsel has voiced concerns about what it describes as an “unwritten policy” instituted by county school administrators in a letter to school board chair Cynthia Armstrong in late September.
The legal group has accused the county of violating the “conscience rights” of physical education teachers who objected to the policy.
“Both of the P.E. teachers, Robert O. and Stephanie C., objected to administrators’ orders to allow the girl into the bathroom, with no forewarning of the boys, or their parents, so that the boys could take steps to protect their privacy,” the letter explained. “Administrators told them that informing the boys so they could take steps to protect their privacy would be ‘discriminatory,’ and subject them to discipline.”
The letter explained the Oppedisano objected to an order to “supervise” the locker room even though a biologically female student began using the boys’ locker room on Sept. 27. He was reportedly told by administrators that the student had “every right to use the locker room.”
Within the right to use the locker room are the rights to disrobe and shower in open showers, the Liberty Counsel explained.
“Robert will not knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress,” the letter explained. “Now, Robert has been told by administrators that he will be transferred to another school as a discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.’”
Oppedisano claims to have been told by the school district’s lawyer that “this might cost you your job.”
“Your teacher certificate might be taken from you, to where you can no longer teach,” the teacher claims to have been told, according to Liberty Counsel.
Kathy Scalise, director of the Office for Employee Relations, threatened in an email to send the teacher home on administrative leave. “I think it sends a clear message that we will not tolerate his behavior,” she was quoted as writing.
At the school board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Kurt Browning clarified that Oppedisano “has not been disciplined at all, in any way shape or form.”
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Source: Christian Post