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26 February 2021

UPDATED 1 March 2021: Talent Elementary not commenting on Dutra's transphobic social media post

This screenshot is of Cassie Dutra's transphobic remarks that appeared on social media last Friday. The school district has not announced what their reaction will be.

By Brad Smith 

TALENT, Ore. -- In response to a Talent Elementary special education teaching assistant who made made a transphobic remark on social media, school officials issued this statement today: 

Phoenix-Talent Schools is aware of concerns raised about the personal opinions of an employee of the district. Although we cannot comment on internal personnel matters, our focus, as always, is on providing a supportive structure for students to ensure their opportunities to be successful. 

Our school district has a formal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy which all staff are expected to follow in the course of their professional responsibilities.

Take care,
Javier del Rio

Assistant Superintendent

Last Friday, Cassie Dutra, a special ed teaching assistant, posted transphobic remarks in a KOBI NBC 5 post about the recent LGBTQ Equality Amendment that's being addressed by the Senate. In the photo above, Dutra compared the situation to cats and dogs. A Talent Elementary employee, over the phone, confirmed Dutra worked there -- they also looked at the initial KOBI story and saw the remarks.

They also said the matter would be "looked into."

Dutra's Facebook page also has fake news stories linking President Obama and others to a conspiracy theory that SEAL Team 6 members were assassinated after killing Osama bin Laden. Other posts show that Dutra is a Covid-19 denier and opposes Gov. Kate Brown's pandemic response protocols.

According to her profile, Dutra is head instructor at Chip Wright's Champion Karate. Riley Hackett, another instructor, said that the school was "very inclusive" and provided a safe environment for all students.

"We've always had students from various cultures or held different beliefs," he said. "We teach karate and focus on the values of honesty, compassion, respect and good sportsmanship. We don't judge. We value and respect everyone. And, yes, our students -- especially our kids -- learn all of this in safe environment."

On social media, a number of parents who had their kids enrolled at the karate dojo expressed dismay over Dutra's views but said that the school certainly didn't reflect her beliefs about transgender people.

"I am a karate student at Chip Wright's," one person said in The Rogue Free Press comments. "It is a fantastic school despite the views of this instructor. I'm just putting this out there because I don't want it to hurt the school through association."

The Rogue Free Press looked at the school district's policy and found this from Section 3 and all of Section 4:

" . . . . We therefore commit to recruiting, hiring, and retaining a workforce that reflects the diversity and demographics of our student body.
4. Professional development should be designed to help staff grow professionally as well as personally. We therefore commit to providing professional development that is culturally competent, culturally responsive, and curriculum that is culturally relevant in order to affirm the identity of both students and staff."

It would seem that Dutra's transphobic views might conflict with school policy. The Rogue Free Press asked del Rio if students -- especially any transgender children -- were in a safe learning environment.

At press time, there was no response.

On social media, a number of concerned parents and even former and current special education teachers said that they contacted state officials about Dutra's remarks and sent screenshots of her posts.

Meantime, a number of area religious extremists and transphobes voiced their support of Dutra, one claimed that her comments were "benign" and another echoed transphobic remarks uttered by GOP senator Rand Paul when he attacked Rachel Levine, a transgender woman and Cabinet nominee for assistant health secretary.

However, many in the Talent community voiced their displeasure and concerns over Dutra's views and wanted her removed from her position.


  1. least the dogs are not beating , biting , and killing you , the way people are killing folks who are not the same as are a very privileged kitty only having to deal with discrimination...

  2. I do know Cassie and I'm not going to comment on her here.I am a karate student at Chip Wright's. It is a fantastic school despite the views of this instructor. I'm just putting this out there because I don't want it to hurt the school through association .

    1. I hope the school will continue. Parents have spoken highly of it and were shocked by Dutra's remarks.

  3. Did you even try talking to her before putting her on blast? I like to think people are capable of growth, less likely to happen when they are made defensive through shaming.

    1. Over the years as a reporter, I've had write a few stories of LGBTQ kids who died by suicide because of people like Cassie Dutra. These people rarely grow; no, their hatred and vile usually worsens. I don't care if Ms. Dutra is shamed and I hope she's out of a job.
      I'd much rather see that than have to write a story about a bullied transgender kid who died by suicide because of Dutra's hateful rhetoric and beliefs.

    2. I see that you don't care about the high rate of suicides among transgender kids because of people such as yourself, your husband or Ms. Dutra.

      From the Human Rights Campaign website:

      Harrowing statistics from a study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed alarming levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth -- with the highest rates among transgender boys and non-binary youth. The findings emphasize the urgency of building welcoming and safe communities for LGBTQ young people, particularly for transgender youth.

      More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

      Many transgender young people experience family rejection, bullying and harassment, or feel unsafe for simply being who they are - all of which can be added risk factors for suicide. Earlier this year, HRC released its 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report, which detailed similarly alarming experiences -- but also significant perseverance among LGBTQ young people in the face of daunting challenges.

      There are steps that can be taken to help prevent this tragedy.

      HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program provides specific guidance to parents, teachers and the wider community for preventing anti-LGBTQ bullying and aggression in schools. This can be as simple as responding appropriately to anti-LGBTQ comments in the classroom, or encouraging educators to promote inclusivity and diversity in their lesson plans.

      Parents and families can start by learning the facts and educating themselves about issues that impact LGBTQ youth. Whether or not families have openly LGBTQ children, it is vital to make home a safe and affirming space for all identities.

      Those are the facts.

      However, I know that you and your husband don't care about the facts. No, you only care about your twisted version of Christianity, promoting hate and intolerance instead of Christ's love and compassion.

  4. Cassie Dutra made transphobic remarks -- and she works as a special ed teaching assistant. I guess you're fine with bigotry, intolerance and hate . . . and what she said is a form of bullying.

    Ms. Dutra made the decision to post hateful remarks on social media. That's her right and opinion but she still has to own up to the consequences of her actions.

    If you want to defend her and her brand of bigotry and bullying, that says a lot about your character.

    1. I'm so sorry you have to spend so much energy replying to these clowns. Thanks for your article.

  5. Is this whole episode not bigotry, intolerance and hate on a broad scale?

  6. The staff at the karate school teaches respect and discipline on every level. Perhaps all of us could learn from our mistakes and practice forgiveness rather than react with additional negativity. Do we still have free speech?

    1. It's obvious that Ms. Dutra lacks respect and discipline when it comes to attacking the LGBTQ community.
      There is free speech.
      There is also consequences for making hateful, denigrating remarks.


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