UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from attorney Debra Wabnik, who is representing the parents in the case.
A New York teacher allegedly made a 9-year-old girl use a male name and pronouns, leading the student becoming suicidal, according to a January lawsuit.
The parents of a Terryville Road Elementary School fifth grader are suing Comsewogue School District and teacher Debra Rosenquist, who allegedly started addressing their child, a biological girl listed as “A.V.,” as “Leo” causing the 9-year-old child to suffer “humiliation,” “emotional pain” and “trauma.” The parents were notified that their daughter had said she was “confused about her gender” and drew a picture of a girl, writing, “I wanna kill myself,” the lawsuit alleged. (RELATED: Blue State Lawmakers Push To Hide Teachers’ Conversations On Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation)
“Because A.V. did not identify as a male, she became so confused and distressed that she drew a picture of a girl that expressed suicidal ideation,” the lawsuit alleged. “Defendants knew or should have known of Rosenquist’s previously inappropriately persuading her nine and ten-year-old students transitioning from one gender to another and/or being gay when they did not express any such inclination, and other inappropriate conduct toward students, but did not remove Rosenquist from the classroom.”
The parents approved their daughters’ identity change as long as it was her decision, the lawsuit alleged. A friend had previously given their daughter the nickname “Leo,” referring to the astronomy sign, causing the parents to doubt that it signified a male identity.
As a result of the name change, the child was allegedly bullied as classmates formed a group chat without her to discuss her gender transition, the lawsuit stated. Students allegedly texted, “literally tho what is she??? Girl?? Boy???” and ““I swear if you add her Im [sic] going to kill you onto pieces [sic].”
The child’s parents found old Facebook posts which revealed that Rosenquist had been previously reported to the administration after she did not follow required lessons in class and “suggested that the kids ‘try being gay’ or try being a boy (if they were a girl) or girl (if they were a boy),” the lawsuit stated. Rosenquist allegedly read students “When Aiden Becomes a Brother,” a picture book about a biological boy who discovers he is actually a girl.
A.V. was eventually moved out of Rosequist’s classroom and despite parents complaints, the teacher allegedly remained employed at the school, the lawsuit stated.
“The parents are seeking to hold the defendants accountable for allowing these atrocious acts to be perpetrated upon their innocent daughter, as well as compensatory damages for the grave emotional distress the entire family has suffered,” Debra Wabnik, the attorney for the parents, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. We hope that bringing this egregious situation to light brings about whatever reforms are necessary to prevent anything like it from happening again, at this District or elsewhere.”
Rosenquist could not be reached for comment and Comsewogue School District did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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