A Wisconsin school counselor who faced harassment and was fired from her job, after remarks at a rally earlier this year that were critical of radical gender ideology and transgenderism, spoke about the experience that led to her lawsuit against the school district for violating her First Amendment right to free speech.
Marissa Darlingh who worked as a counselor at Milwaukee’s Allen-Field Elementary School until she was terminated over her speech during which she blasphemed the left’s “woke” religion by saying “f**k transgenderism” at a Madison feminist rally in April penned a column for Fox News, recalling the persecution from school officials as well as how she was terrorized by activists who she said vandalized her home.
Describing herself as a “radical feminist,” Darlingh wrote, “On April 23 of this year, a Saturday, on my own time, I delivered a very short, unscripted speech at a feminist rally denouncing the threat that gender identity ideology poses to the physical and mental health of my students. This rally was on the steps of the state capitol, far away from my school district. For this I was fired from my job. This clear violation of my First Amendment right to free speech is why I am suing Milwaukee Public Schools and the MPS employees who were involved in my termination.”
Insisting that her personal politics have “never interfered with my work or my relationships with students, their teachers or their families” during her career, she said that after the speech, a chilling “top-down investigation began of my fitness to serve in my role as a school counselor. Ostensibly, this was because I said the words “f— transgenderism” and for expressing my personal belief that a child cannot be born in the wrong body.”
“Less than a week after my speech, the state of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) opened an investigation that could still result in my counseling license being revoked. Next, MPS suspended me and subjected me to a misconduct hearing based on my speech,” she wrote. “The actions taken by DPI and MPS opened me up to harassment, doxxing, stalking and a protest staged outside of my home on June 18 during which several community members, including at least two of my coworkers, picketed, littered and vandalized my property. I’ve slept with a crowbar next to my bed ever since.”
According to Milwaukee-based nonprofit, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) which is arguing on her behalf, “The District has blatantly violated Ms. Darlingh’s First Amendment rights… Firing her for expressing her views on such an important subject is not only inexcusable, but unconstitutional.'”
"'The District has blatantly violated Ms. Darlingh’s First Amendment rights… Firing her for expressing her views on such an important subject is not only inexcusable, but unconstitutional.'"
— WILL (@WILawLiberty) November 19, 2022
“As an educator and a mental health professional, I feel it is my duty to say something when I see forces at play that threaten the well-being of my students,” she said in her Fox News column. “My choice to speak out, while not planned or scripted or even very well thought out, was informed by my years of careful research, writing, thinking and discussion of radical feminism and the role that gender plays in the oppression of women and girls.”
“Gender identity ideology is a harmful and insidious force that has taken hold in public schools very rapidly since I have been in the field. School counselors have been positioned as arbiters of this falsehood which says, essentially, that children can be born in the wrong body. Science doesn’t bear this out, and there are no evidence-based practices that support the continuation of gender identity education in public schools at the elementary level,” she wrote.
Darlingh continued, “Public school districts around the country are involved in this circular glad-handing and mutual reinforcement of false ideas that lead the public to believe that the only way to help a child who is confused about gender is to affirm them, put them on drugs to chemically castrate them, and get them in line for irreversible, mutilating surgeries of their healthy body parts.”
“We have come to a point in time when speaking out against this ideology is essential if we are to improve the institution of public education in a measurable way. Unfortunately, speaking out still comes at a high cost both in terms of money and reputation,” she said. “My word to other educators is this: you may be fired or at least severely punished for speaking the truth, but you must speak it.”
“Our kids can’t wait any longer, and the preservation of their bodies and minds matters more than our reputation among woke educators and the systems that enable them. When you speak out you will find the people you need in your corner for support. You can count me as one of those people,” Darlingh concluded. “I hope that I don’t have to consider myself a martyr for the cause, though. I want to be back in the classroom with you as soon as possible. I pray that the classroom will be a safe haven for real teaching and learning once I get there.”
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