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Hillesland Resigns from Watertown HS After Telling Transgender Kids to Find Biology and Jesus

Speaking of clearing out knuckleheads, transgender-denying and proselytizing German teacher Calvin Hillesland has resigned from Watertown High School:

A Watertown teacher who faced scrutiny after giving letters to students refuting their gender identities has resigned, school officials say.

Calvin Hillesland’s resignation was accepted by the Watertown School Board in Monday night’s meeting, according to school board president Tammy Rieber [staff, “Watertown Teacher Who Questioned Students’ Gender Identities in Letter Resigns,” KSFY, 2022.05.10].

Hillesland handed a letter to several students, on school grounds, on school time, telling them (1) transgender identity is a dangerous lie, (2) biology dictates identity, and (3) students need to pursue spiritual facts alongside scientific facts. Hillesland has spared his school board the trouble of disciplining him for violations of law and professional ethics.

But don’t cry for Cal, Argentina (which has a lot of German speakers)—Hillesland can find a job substitute-teaching in Lead-Deadwood, where he would find his rainbow-phobic views welcome. Or maybe Governor Kristi Noem will appoint Hillesland to replace another insufficiently conservative member of the state Board of Education.


  1. grudznick 2022-05-10 17:49

    We can assume the SDEA has marked this fellow down one, maybe even two slots on the Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers. I doubt they would drop him three levels. One might assume he could have been as high as “Very Good” before this incident, so this would probably drop him down to “Average” rating on the SILT.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-05-10 17:56

    He’s a foreign language teacher. He’ll have no trouble finding a job if he wants one.

  3. grudznick 2022-05-10 18:02

    Good point, Mr. Blundt. Hey, isn’t Mr. H a foreign language teacher too?

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-05-10 20:03

    Hey, he can teach German to the MAGAs. They might as well speak in the original Nazi.

  5. grudznick 2022-05-10 20:15

    Attempts to contact Mr. Pogani, head of the Teachers Union, to ascertain how many levels of the SILT have been docked from this other Mr. H fellow have been unsuccessful thus far this evening.

  6. All Mammal 2022-05-11 03:25

    Thanks, mfi for the link to a second read through of the infamous Watertown teacher’s letter. Painful. Not just because his disappointed former students say he was the nice, engaged teach preach, and turned out not to be as on their side as they once thought, but also because his execution is lousy. Does anyone think he intentionally spelled biological as “bilogical”?

  7. Donald Pay 2022-05-11 08:07

    About half of Republicans were reported a couple years ago to think hearing foreign languages spoken in public is “scary.” These are cowardly folks we’re dealing with, and they are militantly cowardly. They don’t want true history taught, because they may feel “guilty.”. They wet their pants when people speak Spanish. They don’t want people to say “gay.” Conservatives are cowards.

  8. O 2022-05-11 22:00

    My Dear Grudznick, your dementia-induced confusion is showing (again) Wade Pogany is the Executive Driector of Associated School Boards of SD — he is not employed by SDEA. Mr. Hilsland also chose to not be a member of SDEA. There is no union dog for you to hunt in this story.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-12 06:06

    All Mammal, that’s an interesting observation from Mike’s linked article that students thought he was an engaging teacher. Was he an effective German teacher? I’m not looking to excuse violations of separation of church and state and discrimination against transgender students, but if he was on balance an effective teacher, could this situation have been handled in a way that did not result in losing a good teacher? Is transphobia expressed in one letter a disqualifying condition for K-12 teachers? Is transphobia grounds for the quoted student’s reaction of having “lost all respect” for the individual?

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