Destiny McDermitt, a junior at Hill-McCloy High School in Montrose, Michigan, has become the center of a media firestorm after her teacher denied her the right to pen an essay about her two moms.
The New York Post reports that McDermitt’s teacher, who remains unidentified, assigned her to write an essay about a subject for which she had passion. McDermitt’s mothers, Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson, married when marriage equality became legal in 2015. The 17-year-old student selected the topic of same-sex marriage as the subject of her essay, only to have the instructor say the topic was too controversial and might offend her classmates.
Undeterred, Destiny asked if she could first discuss the topic with her classmates. The teacher also refused to let her do so, prompting Destiny to pen a letter to school administrators instead.
“[It] offended me because I have two moms [who] are married and I really thought it was inappropriate,” McDermitt wrote in her letter.
McDermitt’s mother, Angela McDermitt-Jackson, who also works for the school district as a bus driver, also expressed outrage. “These are our children,” she said. “We went through issues when we decided to be together, but these are our children. They don’t need to be subjected to it.”
School officials have, for the moment, stood by the instructor, pointing out that she also refused to let her students write about other subjects like animal cruelty. “The teacher was thinking smaller and the kids were thinking bigger,” Montrose Community Schools Superintendent Linden Moore said in a statement. He also acknowledged that the teacher would need to be more clear when passing out assignments to her class.
Somewhat ironically, the entire fiasco prompted several of Destiny’s classmates to write essays defending her, perhaps proving that it’s more disruptive to refuse to discuss some topics rather than address them. The McDermitt family has since filed a complaint over the whole affair with the ACLU.