A North Carolina elementary school teacher has effectively been pushed out of his job for reading a book to his third grade class about acceptance and equality.
Omar Currie, 25, chose to read King & King to his Efland-Cheeks Elementary School pupils after a student came to him crying over being called “gay” by a peer during gym class.
“When I read the story, the reaction of parents didn’t come into my mind,” the openly gay teacher told AP.
“In that moment, it just seemed natural to me to read the book and have a conversation about treating people with respect. My focus then was on the child, and helping the child.”
The book tells the story of a prince whose mother wants him to marry. He meets various princesses and none feel right, then another price comes along and they fall in love. They are crowned king and king, and the book ends with a kiss.
More than 200 parents and residents of the small 750-person town attended an open meeting to discuss Currie’s use of the book in class.
Some parents stood up to publicly tell Currie he’d die an early death and spend eternity in hell. We wonder where the kid who sparked the incident by calling another student gay learned that kind of attitude?
But the hate didn’t stop there. Currie received anonymous mail saying that being gay is a “birth defect” and accusing him of indoctrinating children through “psycho-emotional rape.”
Though Currie wasn’t officially disciplined by the school, he says administrators became hostile towards him, and he was upset the principle enacted a rule that teachers must inform parents of every book read in class, giving them the option to opt out.
“My reading of King & King was the 100% right thing to do,” he told Indy Week.
“There was no way I was going to have the support I needed to continue teaching [at the school].”
The assistant principal who lent Currie her copy of King & King has also resigned.