WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — The Watertown School District says a letter from a teacher to students seeking to talk about their gender identity does not have the district’s support. 14-year-old Kai Price received one of the letters on Monday. Kai enjoys music, drama and drawing.
“I’m just a 14-year-old kid trying to get through life,” Price said.
“He’s a very giving person, open, loves to get to know people, very honest with people and loving,” Price’s mother Heather Hoffman said.
Kai is transgender. The letter says “I respect you” and “I support you” but it also says “When you asked me to call you by a masculine name and I started trying to do that, I was wrong. It was a lie.”
“In no way, shape or form does this represent the views of the Watertown School District,” said Jeff Danielsen, superintendent of the Watertown School District. “We do take situations like this seriously. We want the school to be a safe place.”
Kai says life hasn’t been easy.
“If I’m being honest, I have not been very confident in myself recently,” Price said. “I have really been struggling with who I am as a person, and how I look, and everything else and so I thought he was trusted, I, someone I could trust and who respected me, and so when I got it, I think everything that was already going on in my life kind of really affected the way it hit me more.”
“Irately angry, that somebody would go out of their way to emotionally attack a group of children, but also shocked that this is supposed to be an educator who is supposed to protect our children,” Hoffman said.
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“They are, yes,” Danielsen said. “All students are welcome.”
But that’s not how Kai feels.
“If I’m being completely honest, not really,” Price said of Watertown High School. “Very few people make me feel comfortable there.”
Danielsen says an investigation has started. KELOLAND News reached out to the teacher via email and requested an interview, but as of Tuesday evening had not received a response.