School hit with terrifying bomb threats over probe into anti-trans ‘bullying’

Danai Nesta Kupemba June 1, 2022
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Kiel Middle School has received multiple bomb threats following a sexual harassment lawsuit. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Wisconsin school district has been bombarded with bomb threats over a harassment complaint filed by a misgendered student.

Four bomb threats have been sent to the Kiel Area School District after it launched an investigation over a group of boys’ refusal to use another student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns.

A fifth threat targeting school buildings as well as Kiel’s public library and city hall led to evacuations on Tuesday (31 May). No bombs were found.

The threats have all referenced the investigation currently taking place at Kiel Middle School, stating that the school district should drop the probe and issue a public apology.

Students were first evacuated following the first threat, on 25 May, with three subsequent threats forcing the school district to close for the summer and move all teaching online.

The threats have extended past the middle school and have affected the wider Kiel community, with the perpetrators threatening grocery stores, malls and streets.

As a result the city’s Memorial Day March, which was meant to take place on 30 May, was cancelled due to safety concerns.

School launched investigation after student bullied

The school district launched a Title IX sexual harassment investigation after a complaint about a student being misgendered by three eighth-grade boys.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs. In June 2021, the Department of Education clarified that it will interpret the law so that it protects students from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation as well as sex.

In an interview with WBay, Lora Zimmer, a Title IX attorney at McCarty Law LLP, said: “Schools are obligated to take action. It’s not a choice on their part whether to allow discrimination of this type to happen. They’re required to take action.”

Since the Kiel investigation was launched, a countersuit has been filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) on behalf of the three eighth grade boys clling for the complaint to be dropped.

The Kiel community has adopted the motto “Be the Light” following bomb threats. (Facebook)

Luke Berg, deputy counsel of WILL, argued to WBay: “This is a really gross application of Title IX sexual harassment charges. Sexual harassment covers really egregious stuff, not using the so-called wrong pronoun.”

Berg added: “Eighth-graders shouldn’t be subjected to this kind of investigation or this type of reputational harm.”

While the child hasn’t been identified, a parent told WBay that their child had been targeted with homophobic slurs and bullying, and has come home from school in tears.

Kiel superintendent Brad Ebert said: “The [school district] prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment in accordance with all laws, including Title IX, and will continue to support all students regardless of race, colour, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, sex (including transgender status, change of sex or gender identity), or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability (“Protected Classes”) in any of its student programs and activities; this is consistent with school board policy. We do not comment on any student matters.”

More: Wisconsin

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