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HS students want teacher canned for not using ‘preferred’ pronouns, ripping DEI measures

Allegedly ‘refuses to treat transgender students as equals’

Approximately 60 students at a Kansas City high school walked out of classes Wednesday to protest a veteran teacher who had written a op-ed criticizing school diversity policies and allegedly doesn’t use students’ “preferred” pronouns.

Caedran Sullivan wrote late last month in The Lion that she could “no longer stay silent” about the Shawnee Mission School District “fostering a toxic environment” with its DEI trainings.

There is repeated white shaming and a preoccupation with white people as the ‘oppressor,’ including staff field trips with a focus on ‘systemic racism,'” Sullivan wrote. “The white saviorism and virtue-signaling at DEI meetings is so condescending that many minorities and other staff members have stopped attending.”

Sullivan also said teachers were told to refer to students by the preferred pronouns, “but hide from the parents the fact that their minor children are transitioning at school.”


There is a strong anti-capitalism, anti-conservatism, and anti-American bias in the DEI curriculum, with an emphasis on “white fragility” and “how to be antiracist.” I have been in workshops where teachers were discussing how to incorporate The 1619 Project into their English curriculum, and how to use Orwell’s book 1984 in class as propaganda against those of one political party.

One teacher referred to me as a “Nazi” and “fascist” for disagreeing with her views.

MORE: ‘Transmasculine’ teacher gets $60K payout in part due to co-workers not using preferred pronouns

Sullivan (pictured) expected a backlash, and she got it: According to Fox 4, Shawnee Mission North High School students engaged in their walkout.

“It’s not acceptable that she’s still here, and that she can post all that stuff on the internet, and that’s OK,” said one student.

Another opined “I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when it’s so controversial like that, it can be uncomfortable for other people, especially if they’re teachers.”

Senior Anylah Jones said “It makes me afraid of what’s going to happen now that this has happened. This is my last year, but what’s going to happen for the minorities? We have to speak up.”

Others allege Sullivan “refus[es] to treat transgender students as equals” and has made “racist statements in class.”

Shawnee Mission teacher Jacob Moyer (pictured), who’s openly gay, protested on the side of the students. In 2019, Moyer spoke in favor of adding protections for LGBTQ people to the district non-discrimination policy — which the school board ultimately passed. Days before the board vote, a district elementary school had handed out rainbow t-shirts to its students, sparking controversy.

Nevertheless, Sullivan had her supporters at the student protest, numbering about a dozen. The Kansas City Star reports the counter-protesters were “encouraged” by the local Republican Party.

Pro-Sullivan protester Debbie Detmer said “I’ve been waiting for one teacher to have the guts to stand up, and I’m praying for her daily. She’s in the belly of the beast. This is me saying, ‘I stand with you. And you’re not alone.’”

District spokesman David Smith said district DEI materials are available for the public if they come in and view them, but claimed the district cannot post them on its website nor mail them due to copyright issues.

Sullivan countered that copyrights affect the selling of such material; putting them on a website would fall under “fair use.”

Regarding the protest, Smith said the district “will let the students speak for themselves” but added “it is self-evident that [Sullivan’s] perspective does not reflect the experience of the vast majority of our staff.”

In her response to the controversy, Sullivan said she has “received hundreds and hundreds of messages from staff members at Shawnee Mission North, from staff in schools across the district, from teachers around the state, and from people across the nation thanking me.”

She added: “The support has far outweighed the hateful rhetoric and worn-out accusations. Those accusations, frankly, are patently false and will not stop me from doing what I love – teaching kids English and how to critically think about both sides of an argument.”

MORE: PA Dept. of Education: ‘It’s always best to ask’ students for preferred pronouns

IMAGES: Fox 4 Kansas City/Twitter screencap; Caedran Sullivan, SMSD Watchdogs/Facebook screencaps

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.