Third Grade Teacher's Creative Lesson for Mean Kids Ends Up Costing Him His Job

teacherA North Carolina teacher has resigned his position after the school received complaints over his reading a story book with a homosexual plot line to his third-grade class. Omar Currie had a student come to him in tears after being call “gay” by another boy during gym class. In an effort to teach his students acceptance and tolerance, Currie consulted with the assistant principal, who lent him her copy of King & King to read to the class. Currie read the tale of two princes that fall in love to his class. Shortly thereafter the school received complaints from three parents.

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Although a school committee has upheld Currie’s use of the book as a teaching aid, both he and the assistant principal have resigned. One of the disgruntled parents appealed the school committee’s ruling and the matter is scheduled to be heard by the superintendent, along with a public hearing later this week.

This teacher has done nothing wrong, he was merely trying to teach tolerance to his students in an age appropriate way. He obtained permission from the assistant principal and even used her book, and the school board stood behind their actions, so it's unclear why both he and the assistant principal who gave him the green light felt the need to resign over the incident. But while three complaints is three too many, it's encouraging that the majority of the parents with children in Currie’s classroom supported his reading book to his students and the lesson he was trying to impart. 

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When you send your children to school you trust their teachers to make judgment calls about what's necessary for their education. Teachers and administrators are highly trained. Not only do they have degrees specific to education, many states require additional certifications and continuous in-service training. And yet teachers come under fire now more and ever for the choices they make in their classrooms.  

Whether it's sending home permission slips for kids to eat an single Oreo as part of a science lab, or checking in with the assistant principal before reading a simple story book today's teachers work hard to cover their butts and protect themselves against outraged parents when a particular lesson doesn't perfectly align with that family's belief system. Teachers work hard enough as it is, they shouldn't have to fear either losing their jobs or being called in front of the school board for using their best judgment. 

There is no "keeping homosexuality out of schools" as one protester demanded be done, because there will, in fact, be homosexual students in schools. This is why lessons in acceptance are so important. Talking with children about these subjects in an age appropriate way teaches heterosexual students that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and helps students questioning their sexuality to feel less alone. As trusted adults who spend large amounts of time with students, teachers are in a unique position to help impart these important life lessons. If anything, parents should be applauding Currie’s efforts to include more diversity in school lessons, not trying to stifle it. 

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A big fat F to all the parents who are too close-minded to see the value in what this teacher did. 

What have you disagreed with your kids' teacher about? What did you do?


Image via Bartek Zyczynski/Shutterstock

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