Bad Education

Teacher spews homophobia to 5th grade class, kids get her fired

Louis & Josh van Amstel. Via Facebook

A Utah school has fired a substitute teacher after an incident in which she told a 5th-grade student he shouldn’t be thankful for his two dads.

The substitute stepped in to teach at Deerfield Elementary, located about 45 minutes outside Salt Lake City, last week just before the Thanksgiving holiday. At one point, she surveyed her students to find out what they were most thankful for this holiday season. One little boy, referred to only as “D.M” to protect his identity, told her he was thankful for his two dads who would finally go through a final hearing to officially adopt him this December.

Then things derailed, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Why on Earth would you be thankful about that?” the teacher spat, before launching into a homophobic tirade. According to students, she barked that  “homosexuality is a sin” and “two men living together is wrong.” Several of DM’s classmates tried to intervene to ask her to stop, but the teacher wouldn’t. “That’s nothing to be thankful for,” she said.

Related: Utah’s Republican governor acts to ban conversion therapy on minors

Three female students later complained to the principal. School officials immediately escorted the teacher off campus, who reportedly continued to protest.

“She also tried to blame our son,” said Louis van Amstel, one of the boy’s dads, “and told him that it was his fault that she went off.” Louis, along with his partner Josh van Amstel, add that their son was shamed into not standing up for his family.

“He was so fearful that this could make us think that we don’t want to adopt him,” Louis van Amstel said. “That’s definitely not going to happen. But this situation really hurt him. This person really hurt us.” He went on to post a response video on Instagram, praising the school for discharging the substitute immediately.

A spokesperson for the school district also explained the situation. “We’re committed to having the best employees who care about all children in our schools, whether it be the teacher, the custodian, the secretary or a substitute teacher,” he said to in a statement. “Obviously, when situations come up like this, we quickly investigate and take appropriate action. That was done in this situation.”

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