Although they received video evidence of inappropriate behavior, Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD took months to suspend a transgender teacher.
Recently, we received videos that were reportedly taken from inside a high school classroom. These videos shocked us.
In the footage from the Chesapeake High School history classroom, you can see students engaging in sexual acts and a minor wearing a sexually inappropriate outfit on school grounds.
If you saw this type of behavior taking place on school grounds, you’d probably wonder what kind of institution would allow its students to behave like this. But it gets worse – much worse.
Willa Hoard, who recently came out as transgender, teaches social studies and is the faculty advisor for Chesapeake High School’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club in Pasadena, MD.
A GSA is a “student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities. GSAs have evolved beyond their traditional role to serve as safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in middle schools and high schools, and have emerged as vehicles for deep social change related to racial, gender, and educational justice.”
Recently, members of the GSA took to Facebook after a student made a concerning social media post that claimed students and teachers would be disciplined for “dead naming.” The term “dead naming” is used to describe referring to a transgender person by their birth name instead of their chosen name. The school reportedly deemed dead naming to be a form of sexual harassment. When parents confronted the school about this rule, they were told that disciplinary action for any listed offenses would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The mother of the student who made the post, Mrs. Rush, was horrified when she saw the list of offenses that would be penalized. “Since my daughter joined this club, her demeanor has changed drastically,” said Rush. “When I saw the Facebook posts I decided to go through her phone and computer.” Mrs. Rush discovered a video of Hoard’s classroom as well as communications between Hoard and students on unofficial school platforms such as Discord, Instagram, and Facebook group messages.
Hoard reportedly called themselves “mom” in the messages and urged students to “carry on, be gay, and start a revolution.” Other messages from Hoard supposedly encouraged students to cause “chaos,” with reminders to also wash their face and hands.
In a direct message to student “LuLu,” Hoard suggests responding to a Facebook comment with a Pride flag and the caption, “this could be interesting.”
“This teacher and the GSA are basically running the school. They implemented the safe space, pressured the school into canceling Red, White, and Blue Day, and are targeting MAGA kids and the athletes.”
The parents were unaware that, per the GSA’s request, the school had established the back of Hoard’s room as a “safe space” for LGBTQ+ students. This meant that at any time, a student could go to Hoard’s room if they needed a break from gym or algebra class.
Multiple parents contacted the principal in early spring 2022 with Discord messages and video footage of Hoard’s classroom. In the videos, you can see two students grinding on each other while Hoard is teaching U.S. History. “The space space was a free-for-all”, according to one parent, while Hoard was teaching, another video surfaced of what looks like one student sucking the stomach of another.
To get her daughter away from the GSA, Kristy Rush has withdrawn her daughter from the school. Rush has posted a number of statements regarding Hoard and the Gay Student Alliance on her Facebook page, including alleged videos of activity that occurs in Hoard’s classroom. Around the same time that Mrs. Rush began posting her concerns on Facebook, Hoard filed a peace order against her.
Although the order has been dismissed, Kristy Rush is still being harassed. GSA students have been standing outside of her house and local LGBTQ+ activists have been reading a list of names of other parents who agreed with her Facebook posts at school board meetings in an attempt to intimidate her–calling them transphobic. On two occasions, the police were called to Rush’s home because it was claimed her daughter Lulu was suicidal and had harmed herself. Both times, they found that she was simply sleeping. Now, Hoard is encouraging other members of the GSA to make similar calls in order to conduct wellness checks on Lulu.
A parent who prefers to stay unidentified for protection against potential consequences said, “It is like [Hoard] is a cult leader and the school is either afraid or in on it.”
“We are afraid to speak out because the whole mob will come after us. But this is our kids’ school and we have to do something. I don’t want my kids to be allowed to leave class, where they are supposed to be learning, so they can go grind on their boyfriend/girlfriend,” said another parent.
Principal Yore had screenshots of messages and footage of the unsettling classroom behavior, but no disciplinary action was taken until a video from the GSA end-of-year party hosted in Hoard’s classroom after school started circulating on Facebook.
On October 3, Mr. Yore sent a letter to parents notifying them that Hoard was on indefinite leave but never addressed the allegations, why this situation was allowed to occur, or what steps the school is taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again.