1 September 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In just 24 hours, over 5,000 Kiwis have signed a petition calling on the Teaching Council to maintain teacher discretion regarding the use of preferred pronouns. A one-size-fits-all approach is inappropriate for sensitive questions related to identity, and those closest to the students are best placed to navigate this journey with them, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.
"To create a blanket rule (as activists are calling for) that requires teachers to always use a child's preferred pronoun leaves no room for informed conversations and nuance. There will be cases where it's appropriate and others where it's not.
"Chief Executive of the Teaching Council Lesley Hoskin has claimed that she accepts there may be contexts where it is acceptable for teachers to not use the preferred pronouns of students. However, others reject this and insist teachers be deregistered if they refuse.
"Such dogmatism may be their undoing.
"We can easily imagine the Green Party in Government requiring the use of preferred pronouns; equally, we can imagine New Zealand First in Government requiring the use of biological pronouns. Bureaucrats and activists should step back, and leave these questions up to the parents, teachers, and principals who know the children.
"Bureaucrats and activists deciding the language of teachers is a recipe for disaster, no matter which side of the issue they fall on. Trust teachers to know what to say."
Sign today https://www.fsu.nz/preferredpronounspetition