SUSD Denounces Critics of Club Sexualizing Children, Silent on ‘Deadname’ Policy

December 15, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

On Thursday, Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel issued a statement calling criticism of a club that encourages child sexualization under the guise of offering support — Gender & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) clubs — as “targeted attacks,” and suggested that those concerned were bullies to the students involved in the club.

“Recently, there have been targeted attacks on student-created school clubs related to gender and sexual identity, sometimes called GSA clubs. The students who choose to participate in them have a legal right not to be bullied, intimidated, or otherwise targeted by adult members of our community, as well as by any of their peers,” wrote Menzel.

Menzel also asserted that SUSD doesn’t regulate the viewpoints of student-initiated clubs. The superintendent said even GSA viewpoints are protected, comparing it to clubs focused on athletics, politics, and faith. As AZ Free News reported, the GSA at Cocopah Middle School was initiated by English teacher Laylee Langner. 

“Students’ rights to have differences of opinions, beliefs and interests are protected in the U.S. Constitution and in Arizona statute. Consistent with those rights, SUSD does not regulate the viewpoints of student-initiated clubs. We have athletic clubs, political clubs, and faith-based clubs in our schools, in addition to academic and philanthropic clubs. These clubs welcome anyone; participation in any club is voluntary.

Menzel has a doctorate and masters in philosophy. According to his LinkedIn, he received his bachelor’s degree in religion.

SUSD parent Jill Dunican denounced Menzel’s response. Dunican told AZ Free News that it demonstrated that the superintendent lacked character and was effectively gaslighting the SUSD community on the severity of GSA’s presence and impact.

“Dr. Menzel’s attempt to frame parents as bullies for speaking out about the hateful curriculum that he has allowed into Scottsdale schools is despicable. Menzel’s use of vulnerable children as a shield to distract from his support for the CRT-aligned GLSEN program that encourages race-baiting, cop-hating, and the sexualization of children is beyond the pale,” stated Dunican. “It’s disappointing that Dr. Menzel has decided to gaslight the community on this issue. It only speaks to his lack of character and further demonstrates he is not a good fit for our community.”

Earlier this week, AZ Free News reported on claims by GSA of the Year winners at Cocopah Middle School that they’d successfully strong-armed SUSD into changing ID policy: instead of bearing their legal names on their IDs, which the budding LGBTQ activists referred to as their “deadnames,” students were permitted to display their chosen name on their IDs. Neither SUSD spokespersons or any of the board members responded to multiple inquiries about the “deadname” policy.  

SUSD’s latest controversy comes in the midst of continued national exposure over the connection of their former governing board president, Jann-Michael Greenburg, to a secret dossier on parents and political enemies. Greenburg’s father created the Google Drive dossier, and Greenburg himself had editing access to it. 

At the beginning of this month, Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) determined that the case fell outside their jurisdiction because the dossier consisted of open source and/or public documents. SPD passed their investigative materials on to the FBI, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office for further review.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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