June 21, 2024

Rinderle, et al., v. Cobb County School District, et al.

Rinderle, et al., v. Cobb County School District, et al.

Katie Rinderle, a fifth-grade gifted specialist in the Cobb County School District in Georgia, was fired from her teaching job in 2023 for reading to her class My Shadow is Purple, an age-appropriate picture book about self-acceptance and navigating gender stereotypes.

In response, Rinderle and other educators are suing the Cobb County School District for discrimination, in the first federal lawsuit challenging classroom censorship policies in Georgia.

The lawsuit describes how the district’s policies on “controversial issues” have been used to unlawfully discipline educators for mentioning LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming people and their experiences in the classroom, in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of Rinderle; Tonya Grimmke, who is a current Cobb County educator; and the Georgia Association of Educators, which serves more than 1,600 educators in Cobb County Schools.

Rinderle and Grimmke are members of the Georgia Association of Educators and are represented by attorneys from the Goodmark Law Firm, the Law Offices of Gerry Weber, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Education Association and the Southern Education Foundation.

The lawsuit challenges the unconstitutionally vague policies used to justify Rinderle’s termination and that discourage educators in the school district from providing inclusive learning environments for their students. The lawsuit states that Rinderle’s termination is illegal retaliation in violation of Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools.

The district adopted the policies in response to the passage of HB 1084, HB 1178 and SB 226 – a trio of classroom censorship laws signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in April 2022. These laws were part of a tidal wave of legislation passed across the nation that censors discussions about gender, race and sexual orientation in schools and classrooms. As of Nov. 1, 2023, at least 22 states had passed restrictions on teaching about race and gender.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking the enforcement of the district’s censorship policies, as well as damages and additional relief for Rinderle, including her reinstatement.

Article originally published on www.einpresswire.com as Rinderle, et al., v. Cobb County School District, et al.