ABERDEENSHIRE — A 17-year-old Scottish high school student says he was recently ejected from the classroom after he spoke up to one of his teachers who remarked that a website was “old-fashioned” because it only listed two genders. He was also suspended for secretly recording a discussion with the teacher about the matter, which was widely viewed online.
The student, who is only being identified as Murray, attends Mearns Academy in Aberdeenshire/Laurencekirk. In one of his classes, as the teacher asked students to sign up at a website, he remarked that the site was “old-fashioned” because it only allows the signup selections of male and female.
“He basically started going off on a tangent about how bad that was and how old-fashioned it was, and I said, “But sir, there’s only two genders,’” Murray said in a recent interview. “He instantly snapped back and said, ‘Are you really going to go there?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s two genders.’ And he said, ‘Murray, if you want to have this discussion, we can have it outside.’”
The student consequently left the room and waited in the hallway. Approximately 30 minutes later, the teacher brought him back into the classroom for a private discussion. Murray recorded the conversation with his mobile phone.
“You’re entitled to your opinion,” the 56-year-old teacher, whose name has not yet been provided, stated.
“If I am, then why did you kick me out of class? It’s not very inclusive of my opinion,” Murray asked.
“What you are saying is not very inclusive, and this is an inclusive school,” the teacher responded.
Murray then asked what was wrong with what he said.
“I was saying that there are more than [two genders] … and that is an opinion that is acceptable in the school. And yours — as you said that there is no such thing as anything other than male or female, is not inclusive,” the teacher explained.
He said that the student was making an issue of the matter and was “clearly given an opportunity” just to let it go.
“[When] I said, ‘Are you really going here?’ that was your opportunity to keep quiet,” the teacher stated.
Murray advised that he believes it is “silly” to state that there is anything other than male or female.
“Okay. Could you please keep that opinion to your own house? Thank you. Not in this room,” the teacher responded.
“So, you’ve got your opinion out in class and my opinion has to stay inside my house,” Murray pushed back.
“I am not putting my opinion out. I am stating what is national school authority policy. Okay?” the teacher stated.
Murray then contended that such is not scientific, to which the teacher replied that not every policy is.
The student remarked that the teacher was not being “inclusive” for telling him to take the matter outside just for stating something that he believes. The teacher said that the school authority policy clearly states that there is to be no discrimination.
“I wasn’t [engaging in] discrimination,” Murray asserted. “I am simply saying that there are two genders, male and female. Everything else is a personal identification.”
“I’m sorry, but you chose to make an issue of making a point which is contrary to policy,” the teacher responded, becoming upset at the student’s continued remarks about the matter. He warned that Murray was “making bad choices.”
The conversation ended with Murray telling the teacher that he had wasted his time and the teacher responding likewise.
The recording was uploaded to Reddit, and Murray was consequently suspended for doing so. According to the Evening Standard, Murray accepted the punishment as it is a “known rule” not to record one’s teacher. He says that he was initially suspended for one week for the recording, and then the penalty was increased to three weeks — the end of the school year.
Murray says that he is now not allowed to return to the school at all. However, the academy asserts that Murray has not been permanently expelled, but that he has rather “reached the end of his time in compulsory education” because of his age.
A friend of Murray’s told the Daily Mail that the teen “decided to film the teacher because he wanted to show what was going on in schools today for simply stating there are only two genders.”
“He believes telling kids that boys are girls and girls are boys is a very dangerous thing and wanted to get his views across to the teacher,” he said. “His view is that scientifically there are only two genders. This new gender theory that there are unlimited genders is something that should be discussed and debated — not just thrown into a class discussion, and if you disagree you get kicked out of the room.”