You aren’t the only ones outraged Michigan high school teacher Jay McDowell was suspended for a day without pay after trying to make his classroom a place for acceptance rather than intolerance. So too is 14-year-old Ann Arbor student Graeme Taylor, who told Howell High School’s board we need more McDowells, not fewer.
This boy is amazing.
After McDowell was disciplined for telling a student to remove a confederate flag belt buckle (because it represented racism) while defending the purple clothing of Spirit Day, Howell administrators insisted McDowell was at fault for infringing on students’ First Amendment rights. Not cool, Taylor declared in front of the school board at a packed meeting on Monday.
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Taylor told board members about how their district isn’t just home to the KKK (Grand Wizard Robert Miles lived nearby before he died), but to intolerant students who drove him, at the age of nine, to attempt suicide.
What McDowell tried to do, says Taylor, was move the needle ever so slightly in the other direction and defend LGBT kids who have found hallway torment to be status quo. “The best thing you can do right now is just give him his pay for that day, and just reverse the disciplinary actions,” Taylor told the school board. “He did an amazing thing. He did something that’s inspired a lot of people. And whenever—ever—I have a teacher stand up for me like that, they change in my eyes. I support Jay McDowell, and I hope you do too.”
Kids these days. They are amazing.