A recent dispute involving a trans teacher hired to teach social studies at Randolph Union High School (RUHS) in Vermont raises important constitutional questions for all American students and schools. (The word "all" must be emphasized here, as in "Liberty and Justice for All"). The question at issue is who is allowed to teach what, and whether "all" teachers and teachings are welcome or appropriate.
Adin Buchanan, the new would-be teacher, identifies as "non-binary, bisexual, and easily confused" in an October 11, 2020 social media post, in which he [using the gender-neutral "he" here —ed.] also posted, "There's no liberation for some of us until all of us are free." (emphasis added).
But Adin's liberties for all are quite free indeed, and clearly extended to a wider than customary span of social studying. In one March 14, 2021 post, he wrote:
Hey y'all I'm remixing one of my healthy sexuality workshops for my new job (target audience teenage boys) and I want your input! I'd love your 1-2 sentence examples of healthy, unhealthy, or even hamful sexual behavior pertaining to that demographic. Bonus points if you label them 1-10 (it's for a spectrum activity)…. These boys have already gotten a lot of the basics down, so I'm looking for moderately nuanced examples.
Examples: Getting STI screened with your potential sex partner and talking through what you want, and what you don't want, before having sex.
TLDR: What do you want teenage boys to know about sex?
An accompanying photo of Adin is headed "pre-COVID steamy/tired bar pic for attention."
RUHS parents found this all a bit much. Helping children "getting the sexual basics down," defining as non-binary while targeting gender-binary boys, and posting steamy bar photos made many parents "easily confused." When Adin announced his new RUHS job, he posted:
Hey RUHS, my name is Adin Buchanan (She/they pronouns) and I'm so excited to be joining the Social Studies team this year. ... Nerd out with me about queer and trans issues, neurodivergence in the classroom.
Shocking pictures of Adin included the caption "eat the rich," an obvious socialist reference that in Vermont would mean eating mostly liberal elitists, so the cannibalism plug also "easily confused" parents. What else might they expect in the classroom?
Many parents asked school officials about this new hire. RUHS co-principal Caty Sutton responded:
Thank you for raising these important questions. As a school community, we need to uphold and protect the identity and right to free speech among all our school community members. ... If the school year begins and there are concerns about the academic content of a course that you would like to discuss, please let us know. (emphasis added, again)
But this gaslighting of parents only demonstrated that school officials were very easily confused. Parents asked, quite reasonably, whether gender-binary, monogamous teachers would be afforded the same rights of identity and protection and free speech rights. (As in, for all.) The response? Crickets.
In response to this question asked of School superintendent Layne Millington, parents received a boilerplate gaslighting tactic:
We have received your email and will look into your concerns. We strive to create and maintain a school environment where all are respected and safe. Thank you for being a partner in ensuring dignity and respect for all students and staff members. As you know, a safe school environment for all is one of our primary goals. If you have any concerns about the quality of instruction please let us know.
Clearly, the superintendent is confused — the quality of instruction (the question being gaslit, and the lights now oh, so low) was precisely the subject matter of the unanswered parental inquiry. Given recent revelations about schools illegally discriminating against "conservative" teachers, the question of what these schools (constitutionally) mean by "all" is a logical one.
RUHS has a serious problem improving the math and reading proficiencies of all its students and dealing with drug problems and behavioral disruptions. It is understandable why some parents might question the quality of instruction offered in the classroom by an easily confused non-binary neurodivergence teacher to young binary boys who advocates eating rich people with posts of steamy bar-hopping (and other) photos. This is all just bizarre stuff, whatever the sexual orientation of the teacher (which is not the issue here). This should be concerning to all.
Has RUHS hired gender-binary, monogamous Orthodox Jewish teachers lately? Perhaps that should be required — for diversity's sake. Get a different perspective in the classroom (perhaps in biology class?). It is very likely that the systemic ideological imprinting of this school's student body has contributed to the decline in test scores in basic subjects while racial division, drug use, bullying, and disciplinary chaos have erupted — for all. It is, after all, quite obvious that Mr. Millington would discriminate against Orthodox, monogamous Jewish teachers — isn't it?
On September 9, the RUHS announced the following:
We are reaching out because your student is enrolled in grade 10 Modern World History at Randolph Union High School. The teacher we had hired to teach the course has resigned effective immediately, and in the short term, a long term sub will be teaching the class. We are seeking a highly qualified teacher to work with the class longer term.
How about a highly qualified, married, gender-binary man or woman, whose identity and free speech rights will be affirmed? Just so parents — and all staff and students — know what "all" means again.
The word seems misunderstood — not by parents and students, but by Superintendent Millington, et al.