KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Seattle teacher told students identifying as ‘straight’ is offensive

Jan 10, 2024, 8:18 PM | Updated: 8:18 pm

Ian Golash...

Headshot of Tenth-grade Ethnic Studies World History teacher Ian Golash with his school, Chief Sealth High School, as the backdrop. (Photos obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photos obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

A controversial Seattle teacher allegedly told students that identifying as “straight” is offensive. He even scolded some of his male students for being a “product of the patriarchy that teaches young boys not to care.” It resulted in a parent filing a complaint with Chief Sealth High School. In defending the teacher, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) offered what appears to be a verifiably false statement to the media.

Tenth-grade Ethnic Studies World History teacher and self-identified communist Ian Golash asked students to complete a “Social Identity Wheel” worksheet, according to the parent, who asked for anonymity. It asks students to explain their various identities, including racial, ethnic, gender, socio-economic status, physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities, and sexual orientation. The worksheet is intended to tell students that their identities determine whether they receive unearned privilege or oppression.

The parent’s 15-year-old son labeled himself “straight.” Golash took issue with that word “because it implies that to not be straight is to be ‘crooked’ which could have a negative connotation.”

‘Straight’ is offensive to Ian Golash

The student’s mother shared an email thread with The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. In it, she complains about the comment to Golash and the school’s principal, Ray Garcia-Morales.

“When filling out a Social Identity Wheel, he (her son) was told that if he identifies as straight that he needed to pick a term that was less offensive. It is completely inappropriate to dictate what terms a student can and cannot use to identify themselves with,” the mom wrote in the September 24, 2023 email.

Golash said he did not target her son with his comment. He did, however, admit to saying something similar to the entire classroom.

In the email response to the mother, Golash allegedly told the parent that he “stated explicitly that I was not going to tell them how they should identify except to explain the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality.” But he did cast aspersions on identifying as “straight.”

“Because I think language has power and that it shapes the culture that we live in, I did say to the class, in response to a student, that I do not use the term ‘straight’ because it implies that to not be straight is to be ‘crooked’ which could have a negative connotation,” Golash wrote. “But, again stated that I am not interested in telling them how they should identify and that the wheel they are completing is for their own reflection, not for me to assess.”

A very contrived position

Golash taking offense to the term “straight” in this way may be the only such example in the country. It’s a common and accepted term.

Chief Sealth High School has a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. Even GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) uses “straight” as an alternative descriptor for heterosexuals. The term “straight-ally” is still used by LGBT groups.

The contrived issue came up in a 2015 Washington Post column about etiquette. The readers (not Golash) asked if the term “straight” is offensive. Steven Petrow (the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners”) responded by saying he’s never been asked that before. He concluded it was neither offensive nor a slur.

“I’ve never heard of a gay person saying they were offended by the use of straight. Do some straight folks find it problematic? I think you are saying that you are and, if so, I’d like to know why,” he wrote.

‘Product of the patriarchy that teaches young boys not to care’

The parent also claimed in the email that Golash shamed her son during a conversation about Florida banning left-wing classes with critical race theory indoctrination. Her son had missed the day the class watched a video about the topic, and told Golash he didn’t know why the state legislature forwarded the ban, according to the mom.

“I’m told that rather than converse about the topic and provide him with information and an actual answer, he was told that he was a ‘product of the patriarchy that teaches young boys not to care,'” the mom wrote in the email. “You missed an opportunity here to teach your student about current events and instead shamed him for being a male. To assume that he’s being raised in a patriarchal household is a very mistaken one.”

Again, Golash disputes some specifics but admits to bringing up the issue.

“My response about patriarchy was not directed at one student, it was connected to discussions of systems of power that we had been having in the previous few days and the behavior of several boys in the class,” he wrote, according to the email. He did not dispute saying the quote the mother provided.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH asked Golash if the emails properly depict what he sent to the parent and if he wanted to offer additional context. He did not respond.

It’s part of a political agenda

Golash focuses a portion of his curriculum on issues around gender identity. The same parent previously complained that Golash failed her son on a quiz for correctly saying men cannot get pregnant and that women do not have penises. The mom eventually pulled her son from his class.

“Mr. Golash has introduced many controversial topics into the classroom and instead of inviting open, constructive and truthful conversations, he provides biased resources that only aid in pushing his own ideological agendas,” the mom told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “In this particular instance, he tried to persuade the language the students used in an attempt to censor them. Mr. Golash instructs his students what to think and not how to think. This in no way provides identity-safe classrooms that allow students to feel visible and valued.”

She says her son started to “self-censor … due to Mr. Golash’s intolerant teaching tactics.” Only after this incident, she said Golash accused her son of being disruptive and disengaged. She called it “retaliatory in nature.”

In the email thread, Golash did accuse her son and other classmates of unruly behavior. He said his frustration with their alleged behavior, “resulted in words I said that day that I might not phrase in the same way today.”

Seattle Public Schools is mostly silent

According to a screenshot of an email shared with The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, the district is investigating the two separate complaints against Ian Golash.

First, the school is reviewing the quiz that the student failed for taking objectively true positions: Men can’t get pregnant and women do not have penises. Second, according to an email, Chief Sealth principal Garcia-Morales told parents there was an investigation into a separate incident where antisemitic curriculum was taught to students.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) won’t say much about Golash, including how far the investigation has progressed. They also would not comment for this story, neither confirming nor denying Golash’s purported communication with the parent. Even if they did comment, they’ve previously misled the media with a statement.

More from Jason Rantz: Democrats reject child marriage, but accept their gender reassignment

Misleading the media and public

When The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH exclusively reported the “men can get pregnant” quiz, the story ignited a firestorm of criticism and ridicule towards Golash and the district. SPS appeared to give out the same statement to multiple outlets, but added an extra detail to Fox News.

In the original report, the mother complained that Golash and another teacher engaged in name-calling. One teacher allegedly called her son “f****d and racist,” and Golash allegedly made the comment about being a “product of the patriarchy that teaches young boys not to care about anything.” SPS denied the claims when asked by Fox News.

“Claims that the student was called names have not been reported to SPS. We have confirmed with the school’s principal that this is the first reference to any name-calling,” a spokesperson told Fox News.

The statement appears to be false.

In a February 2, 2023 email, the mother’s husband emailed a teacher and principal Garcia Morales. In it, he complained of conduct against his son. He wrote that his son told him the teacher explained to the classroom, “If you’re white, that’s f****d up and racist.” The principal was also on the email over Golash’s comments about the patriarchy.

SPS would not say why they told Fox News that my report was the first reference to any name-calling.

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Rantz: Seattle teacher told students identifying as ‘straight’ is offensive