Vermont Senate leader considering reprimand for Republican who encouraged backlash against teacher

Local News

Back to school means getting to know your students — their name, for starters, and maybe a few fun facts or their favorite summer memory.

Sam Carbonetti decided to gave students in his 8th grade humanities class at Irasburg Village School the choice of sharing their preferred pronouns — he/him, she/her, they/them — during introductions.

It didn’t go over well with some, including Vermont Republican Sen. Russ Ingalls, who shared a Facebook post from a parent that encouraged people to email the teacher with their concerns.

In his post, Ingalls said “many in the class felt uncomfortable.” Carbonetti responded on Twitter, saying Ingalls “doxxed” him by revealing the classroom activity.

Now, Carbonetti wrote, “Anti-equity folks are calling for my job. How was your first week of school?”

Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint said Ingalls’ involvement was inappropriate for a person in his position.

“We’re looking at a letter of reprimand of some kind. Perhaps it will go before the Senate Rules Committee,” she said. “There’s lot of details I still need to get from him before I determine next steps.”

Balint she’s attempting to make contact with Ingalls. In the meantime, she says she reviewed legislative rules Monday about what actions could be taken, but found that most pre-date social media.

“I do take it very seriously,” Balint said. “I do not want any community to feel like a House member or a senator is using their position and their authority to intimidate other people. That is not our job.”

Ingalls could not be reached for comment, and Carbonetti referred us to Orleans Supervisory Superintendent Penny Chamberlin, who also no more to say.

“I am not interested in keeping this thread going with media,” she said. “We are focused on opening our schools safely and are currently dealing with contact tracing. I need to put my energy this week into safety for our students and schools.”

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