Warwick mom demands answers after English class gender discussion

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) The mother of a Toll Gate High School freshman was demanding answers from school officials after, she said, her daughter’s teacher turned an English lesson into a discussion about gender identity early last week.    

“She had sent me a message, a text message, that she was in English class and that the teacher had just told the class that, ‘oh, you’re aware that there are more than two genders now,’” Keri D’Ambrosio, the students’ mother, said. 

In that text message exchange, D’Ambrosio’s 14-year-old daughter tells her mother that her teacher told the class they “have to be politically correct,” while talking about The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives. 

The books references the true story of an agender teen set on fire. 

“This is English class. Why are we discussing whether there are male and females, and only two genders?” D’Ambrosio said. “Instead of reading the book, literature, proper grammar, you know, learning how to write a paragraph, whatever, even cursive writing.” 

ABC6 News reached out to Warwick Public Schools, and a spokesperson released a collaborative statement from school district officials, including Supt. Lynn Dambruch, that didn’t address the teacher’s specific comments on gender, but did defend the book, saying in part: 

“… Issues of gender identity, race and class division and the complexity of the justice system are addressed with clarity and thoughtfulness…”  

The statement also encouraged parents to contact school officials, school district officials or the curriculum office, if students feel “uncomfortable” with a classroom discussion. 

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Warwick