Wisconsin teacher sues school district after being fired for speaking out against 'gender identity'

Posted 74 days ago


A Wisconsin public school counselor is suing Milwaukee Public Schools for firing her after she denounced gender ideology at a public rally in April.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a federal lawsuit against employees at Milwaukee Public School District (MPS) for its termination of former Allen-Field Elementary School counselor Marissa Darlingh over what WILL argues is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Darlingh was fired in September over a speech she made regarding "gender identity ideology" at a feminist rally in Madison, Wisconsin.

During an unscripted statement at the state capitol, Darlingh said she "oppose[s] gender ideology" in elementary schools and argued children should not be "exposed to the harms of gender identity ideology" or given "unfettered access to hormones—wrong-sex hormones—and surgery."

She also said she does not support the social or medical transition of young children because she "exist[s] in this world to serve children" and "to protect children."

In what WILL calls "the passion of the moment" during her speech, Darlingh said "f--- transgenderism," in reference to the "gender identity ideology" she was denouncing.

Less than a week after her speech, Darlingh got a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) that stated it had "opened an investigation to determine whether to initiate educator license revocation proceedings against [her]" for "immoral conduct," such as her "statements that she ‘oppose[s] gender identity ideology from ever entering [her] school building,’ that she ‘do[es] not believe children should have access to hormones or surgery,’ that ‘none of her students will ever transition socially or medically under [her] ‘f---ing watch,’’ and her other uses of the f-word," according to the lawsuit.

"As a private citizen, I have the right to express my views concerning gender ideology on my own time, and identifying myself as a school counselor doesn’t negate that right," Darlingh said in a statement.

"My speech had little to no impact on my students, their educational experience or our therapeutic relationship," she added. "The basis of my unscripted speech stemmed from my desire to protect children."

In response to her speech, a group protesting the rally campaigned to have Darlingh fired from her job, which prompted a district "investigation," according to the lawsuit. Darlingh’s supervisor and two HR employees brought misconduct proceedings against her, which resulted in her suspension and a "no-trespass order," restricting her from campus grounds.... (Read more)