FOND DU LAC — A Fond du Lac teacher claims he was forced to resign for teaching a sensitive topic to high schoolers: Female Circumcision.
Over 24 years, Daniel Dettman had taught a number of subjects at Winnebago Lutheran Academy. For at least 15 of them, he has brought up an issue in world geography class.
"We talked about how Egypt has a lot of laws and a lot of customs that are fairly sexist," said Dettman, "...and it does lead to some things that are very dark and then I talk to the class about female circumcision."
When asked why he brought that up he replied, "I think this has to be discussed somehow the only way this is a secret thing, people don't know that it happens."
He says the school principal received three parent complaints over this and was suspended until the full school board could see what he taught.
"They were appalled," said Dettman adding, "...and gave me a letter that because I had taught this I could no longer be trusted to pick appropriate subject matter."
They asked for his resignation. He says he submitted it the next day, "I did use the names of body parts as I went through it and they felt that was too graphic."
Pastor Philip Janke sent us this statement about what happened on behalf of Winnebago Lutheran Academy:
Winnebago Lutheran Academy recognizes and supports the idea that our students benefit from learning about current global and cultural events and issues.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of situations in which Mr. Dettmann had failed to exercise the expected level of discretion and discernment when introducing these delicate topics to high school students, generating concern from students, parents and colleagues.
WLA leaders, including administration, multiple fellow teachers and a parent had conversations addressing these concerns with Mr. Dettman after each incident, but the pattern has continued and escalated, resulting in the request for his resignation."
We asked Dettman if there had been any issue of discussing female circumcision in the 15 years of teaching it, "There were not. At least no one ever talked to me about it and said that was inappropriate subject matter.
Dettman says his family stands behind him saying, "it's okay, we believe what you did was right."
The 56-year-old hopes more people research the issue he was trying to bring to light. For now, he remains focused on a new job hunt, "I've decided maybe its time to find a different career."