In North Carolina and Missouri, Parents Criticize LGBT-Themed Material


Teachers have been facing criticism for presenting their students with content that deals with homosexuality, including a third grade teacher in Orange County, North Carolina read a homosexual fairy-tale out loud to his class, causing outrage among parents.

The openly gay teacher, 25-year old Omar Currie, read a book called King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland, in which a prince marries a man despite the protests of his mother, to his students at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School. Three parents filed complaints.

A parent whose student is not in Currie’s class came to school to protest Currie’s choice to read the book. Currie was warned about the man, and officials told him and another teacher to bring their students inside from recess because of possible danger. The protester left the school peacefully and carried a protest sign along a nearby road.

Currie responded to the uproar, saying that he was addressing the problem of a particular student being bullied for being “feminine,” and the word “gay” was used against him by his bullies. The bullying stopped after the book was read, and the boy later told the school’s literary specialist how much he enjoyed it. Currie also mentioned that the book fit with their fairy tale unit and has been recommended for elementary-aged children, notes Mark Schultz of the News Observer.

We talked about how the moral of the book was just you accept others the way they are. Some of the kids said the book made them feel a little uncomfortable, and I told them that was fine.

Currie plans to resign because of his disappointment with the district, writes ABC11.

Principal Kiley Brown said that the assistant principal, Meg Goodhand, knew about the reading selection and gave Currie the copy he read, but she did not. She feels that parents should have been notified.

We are dealing with this matter and following policy as best we can in light of the situation and I think this will be a huge learning experience for our staff and our community. I think that letting parents know and be  key aspects of the educational process is huge.

A school committee upheld Currie’s choice to read the book, and released a report saying that the fractured fairy tale structure of the book and its diverse matter matched third grade curriculum goals.

Two new requirements have entered school policy along with its release: teachers must give parents a list of all the books they plan to read in class (which Currie estimates could be 500 over the course of a school year) and teachers must also fill out a form for each bullying incident.

In Missouri, a high school teacher is facing disciplinary action for showing a historical public service announcement that portrayed homosexuality in a negative light.

Ken Simon, who was weeks away from retirement, showed “Boys Beware” from 1959, which depicts gay men as child predators, to his class on the judicial system, law enforcement, and sex offenders. He felt that it would be interesting and amusing to show his senior-year students the homophobia in the portrayal, writes Nicole Hensley of the New York Daily News.

Simon said:

I showed it just to compare 1959 with 2015. We talk about the Jews being persecuted, the slave trade, but nobody has ever complained about that.

Two students filed complaints, while others say that it was taken out of context. Some students have been peacefully protesting the school’s decision to suspend him, writes CNN Wire.

The district’s spokeswoman, Michele Stidham, said that the district has no policy about showing historic news clips in class, including those that deal with LGBT issues.

05 18, 2015
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