BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) – In early November, outrage circulated on social media over the book ‘Gender Queer’ appearing in a classroom in the Hollidaysburg Junior High.
The book itself was brought into school by a teacher and when school officials found out about the situation, they informed parents that the teacher was told to never bring the book back.
Hollidaysburg Police conducted multiple individual interviews of both students and school district personnel. At the current point of the investigation, none of the witnesses interviewed by law enforcement have disclosed first-hand observations that would rise to criminal conduct under Pennsylvania law, according to a statement from District Attorney’s Office.
Officials also stated in a release that the criminal investigation and decision to prosecute is completely separate from any administrative decision made by an employer regarding whether the individual violated any internal code of conduct or what, if any, employment ramifications are imposed.
In addition to the Blair County District Attorney’s Office releasing their findings in the investigation. Below is an updated statement to parents from the Hollidaysburg Superintendent Robert Gildea.
Dear Junior High Parents,
The intent of this message is to update you on the status of Ms. Nicole Stouffer. Ms. Stouffer will be returning to the classroom effective January 3, 2023. No further comment will be made regarding any corrective action that may or may not have been taken against the teacher as it is an internal personnel matter.
A press release will soon be issued by the Blair County District Attorney regarding the external investigation.
‘Gender Queer’ has been the center of controversy the past few years as schools began to ban it from being used in curriculums or put on library shelves. The book is a 2019 graphic memoir written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe.
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This criminal investigation remains ongoing in that Hollidaysburg Police will continue to
interview any witnesses who come forward with information relevant to the teacher’s behavior toward students.