ONTD Political

Teacher suspended for letting student play pro-gay equality song to class

10:34 pm - 11/29/2012
A teacher at a school in South Lyon, Michigan has been suspended without pay for allowing a student to play a song about gay love to his class.

Susan Johnson, a performing arts teacher told Fox News that an eigth grade student at South Lyon’s Centennial Middle School asked if he could play a song to a class of 13 and 14 year-olds.

“I asked him a few questions about the song. If it was violent, if there was any profanity, and he said no. And I said this sounds like a great song to go ahead and use for the class,” the teacher told the network.

The song, “Same Love” is by rapper Ben Maclemore that talks of the dangers of hate and stereotype by describing the struggle of a gay man from birth to death.

“This is one of the things in my school that we’re trying to practice and we’re trying to instill in our students is tolerance to diversity,” she said.

After a student disagreed with the message of tolerance, they went to the principal who immediately suspended the teacher without pay.

“I don’t think that it was really even thought through,” she said. “I was paralyzed. I really didn’t understand why I was being suspended.”

The local authorities gave her paperwork that explained that she was suspended because the song is “controversial” because it contains content about homosexuality. Michigan has a constitutional state ban on same-sex marriage. The state outlawed anal sex (for gay and straight couples) until the US Supreme Court ruled that such bans were illegal in 2003.

Ms Johnson said:”I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there’s a lot of bullying and there’s a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are now investigating the case.

source, also, video for the song in question (warning, may cause all sorts of feels and unexpected rain on faces)
romp 30th-Nov-2012 05:30 am (UTC)
My college student son sent that video to his 2 moms a few weeks ago. (awww!)

on topic: Did I miss where the school policy was cited? Or the problem that one student's religion is opposed to something legal?
ebay313 30th-Nov-2012 06:42 am (UTC)
According to the school district:

"The district has an established practice, included in the staff handbook, that requires the instructor to first preview any taped material to be used in the classroom, including YouTube clips, then submit a completed form about the proposed clip to a building administrator for approval," read the statement.

"To ensure that the proposed material supports the curriculum for the class, the form requires the instructor to provide a brief description of the clip and how it relates to the lesson plan.

"Further, the instructor is to identify the curriculum benchmarks that students will complete as a result of watching the clip. The employee neither previewed the YouTube clip, nor submitted the form for approval as required. Instead, a student gave the clip to the employee at the beginning of class and the employee showed the clip to the class. The clip had no relationship whatsoever to the instructional class content planned for that day. The purpose of this established practice is to ensure that instructional materials are appropriate for the course and its students. It is because we care about all students that we have this procedure in place."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121129/METRO02/211290425#ixzz2DgZ7N9S0

(read this first on the Detroit News because that's what someone on my facebook linked to.)

I call bullshit, I don't think they would have reacted the same if it wasn't related to homosexuality but that's their statement.
romp 30th-Nov-2012 06:55 am (UTC)
gotcha, thanks
ceilidh 30th-Nov-2012 07:39 am (UTC)
It has to go with something with a corresponding bubble on a standardized test or it doesn't count.
romp 30th-Nov-2012 08:20 am (UTC)
Right. Teaching to the test.

When we recognize another's humanity, we
a) get vaccinated
b) start issuing threats
c) smile in support
d) file a complaint
pleasure_past 30th-Nov-2012 09:38 am (UTC)
B and D, in that order. The anti-queer vaccination won't work unless you get it several months in advance, so it's too late for A at that point.

ragnor144 30th-Nov-2012 12:10 pm (UTC)
That policy is a load of bullshit. Teachers are hampered enough without having to submit forms to play music suggested by students.
redstar826 30th-Nov-2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
then submit a completed form about the proposed clip to a building administrator for approval," read the statement.

that is one messed up policy if it is actually followed, because expecting teachers to get all videos approved before for use is so impractical. In the class I intern in, we certainly preview videos before showing them to our 7th graders, but we don't ask permission from anyone else. Quick little videos are great and we use them almost every day because they are an easy way of introducing new topics and the kids like them
spyral_path 30th-Nov-2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
It's pure bullshit. This was a performing arts class so she could easily have justified using that clip as part of the curriculum. I can think of ways to use it in history and language arts classes as well. She was suspended because the principal had a knee jerk homophobic reaction. If he was following policy all he would have had to do was give the teacher a warning.
ebay313 1st-Dec-2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Even if it didn't relate directly to the curriculum of the class, there is value in some things that are not directly related to curriculum and I think things like respect for others should be encouraged across the board in school- it doesn't make sense to treat something like that as separate subject or issue. It doesn't make sense to say "no bullying, treat your classmates with respect" in period one, but the rest the day that's ok!
amyura 30th-Nov-2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
I'm calling bullshit too. Seriously? If I had to preview every time I've used YouTube to teach my chorus about chord progressions or modes, or show them an exemplary performance of a song in our program, I wouldn't get anything done. Same with the math classes I teach. There's a great video called "Calculus in 20 Minutes" that would easily be approved, but there aren't any government standards for calculus.
deathbytamarind 1st-Dec-2012 07:05 am (UTC)
Granted I got a C+ in media law (lol me) but this sounds like it could be prior restraint. Which is a no-no.

People who got a better grade in their law classes and/or know the law better than I, please inform. I would really like to know.
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