Cobb County teacher fired for reading a book to her fifth-grade class appeals decision

Katie Rinderle as she took the stand Thursday morning in her termination hearing at the school...
Katie Rinderle as she took the stand Thursday morning in her termination hearing at the school district’s headquarters in Marietta.(Atlanta News First)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 4:39 PM EDT
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COBB COUNTY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A teacher fired by the Cobb County School District for reading a book with a non-binary protagonist to her fifth-grade class has appealed the decision.

Katie Rinderle announced today that attorneys from the Goodmark Law Firm and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have appealed the decision on her behalf.

Rinderle was fired by the school board in August for reading My Shadow is Purple to her fifth-grade class at Due West Elementary School. The district alleged that reading the book, which features a protagonist who doesn’t identify as a boy or a girl, violated district policy.

The district told Rinderle a parent had complained that Rinderle’s actions violated Georgia’s Divisive Concepts Law. The law focuses entirely on race and makes no mention of gender or sexuality.

Her firing went against the recommendation of a tribunal that recommended Rinderle keep her job. The tribunal found that Rinderle did indeed violate district policy, but ultimately recommended she keep her job.

The school board voted 4-3 to fire her anyway.

The district followed Rinderle’s termination by banning two books for “explicit content:” Flamer by Mike Curato and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.

The Marietta School District also ordered its superintendent to remove those books after a single parental complaint.