Student Teacher Fired For Hanging Out With Guys

Teachers teach their students a lot more than just the three Rs of reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.  They teach kids to have confidence and to try new things.  They get kids to strive for excellence and accept loss gracefully.  Teachers teach kids how to interact with others, both by telling them directly and by setting an example.  In short, teachers teach kids about the real world.  Except, perhaps, in Beaverton, Oregon where the real world apparently must be cleaned up and sanitized before telling the precious little snowflakes about it.

While working on a writing lesson in the fourth grade class where he was student teaching, one of the students asked Seth Stambaugh if he was married.  He replied that he wasn’t and, when asked why not, explained that it would be illegal because he would choose to marry a man.  The student asked if Stambaugh hung out with guys and Stambaugh said yes.  Shortly after, Stambaugh was told that his comments were inappropriate and that he would not be allowed back at the school.

Now, it’s quite clear that this is nothing more than the all-too-common discrimination against the LGBT community and that the school district is in the wrong.  There is no doubt about that.  Whether or not the initial complaint came from a parent (who also claimed that Stambaugh’s pressed slacks, oxford shirt, and his grandfather’s cardigan were inappropriate), the school is responsible for having acted on the complaint in a discriminatory manner.

As awful as that part of the story is, however, it’s not what bothers me the most.  What if the child that asked the question or even one of the others listening were gay themselves?  Perhaps, at 9 years old, they might not understand what that means, but they might know that they kind of like boys more than girls.  Or maybe they don’t know yet, but will in another four or five years.  What is the lesson they’ve learned from this?

Quite simply, the lesson the school has taught their students is that not only is it wrong and “inappropriate” to be gay, you’d best keep it hidden if you want to keep your job.  And if the child of the parent that complained was trying to figure out their own sexuality, what do you think the chances are that they’d talk to their parents about it?  Or that their parents would be understanding or supportive?

That this happened in September — a month in which at least nine gay teenagers took their own lives — underscores the seriousness of this shameful situation.

These attitudes need to change now before any more kids kill themselves.  If you’re an adult — a parent, a school administrator, a priest, or anyone else — you and your precious sensitivities don’t matter one whit when compared to the safety and health of our children.  So if you’re really that antiquated and old-fashioned, just shut up, go sit in a corner, and stay out of our way.  The rest of us would like to protect our children from the likes of you.

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