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Illinois Teacher Suspended for Assigning Classes Article About Homosexuality in the Animal Kingdom Returns to Class



After a school board meeting that went late into the night, members decided to give teacher Dan Delong a warning and allow him to return to class:

"Last night, a crowd of students showed up at DeLong's disciplinary hearing to show their support for the teacher. Following the meeting, Delong issued a joint statement with the Board of Education of Southwestern CUSD 9. 'I agree with the Board that the material in my class was not age appropriate for my sophomores and for that, I apologize. I understand the Board has decided that I shall receive a Notice of Remedial Warning,' he said in the statement. DeLong also said that the administration's concerns centered not on 'sexual preference or homophobic condemnation,' but rather 'the age appropriateness of the material.' DeLong's students say the reading material was optional. His supporters, which included former and current students, call DeLong and inspiration.' He gave you controversial issues and you got to choose your opinions on them were,' Katie Trombetta, a former student, said. 'He didn't put his beliefs on you. You got to figure out your own beliefs.'"

Watch a news report, AFTER THE JUMP...


Dan Delong (pictured below, with one of his students), a teacher at Southwestern High School in Piasa, Illinois, has been suspended for assigning his classes an article that appeared in Seed magazine (you can read it here) about homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

The Telegraph reports: Delong "Southwestern School District Superintendent Larry Elsea was not available for comment Wednesday or Thursday, nor was Marcus Albrecht, the union representative for the Illinois Education Association that represents the district's Southwestern Education Association members. According to an e-mail sent to The Telegraph from a former student, Delong has the support of more than 400 parents, students and friends, seeking to have him reinstated. The article that Delong had his students read was written by Jonah Lehrer and quotes Joan Roughgarden, a biology professor at Stanford University who challenges Darwinian sexual selection by documenting more than 450 animal species that engage in homosexual behaviors."

Said Delong: "I have been suspended, but not without pay. But I would rather not comment further until I speak with my union representative."

A special meeting of the school board is taking place tonight to discuss Piasa's fate.

Via Wicked Gay Blog, which reports: "My source tells me that DeLong is a straight married man with two kids who is an ally of the GLBT community and was simply trying to educate through this assignment."

There has been a Facebook page set up in support of Delong.

Watch a news report from local station KTVI, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Well that seems perfectly reasonable. God knows we wouldn't want students learning about, you know, stuff.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 2, 2009 7:38:06 PM

  2. Bigots hate it when facts get in the way.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 2, 2009 8:17:11 PM

  3. I'd bet they'd burn Isabella Rosellini at the stake then.

    Anybody see her the other night on Grahm Norton BBC America? They showed one of her animal porn vids = the one about shrimp changing sex

    shrimp born males and when they age turn into females to mate with younger males who then give birth to males who grow older and mate with sex changed females to later become females themselves.

    Interesting, funny, and so why shrimp aren't kosher = gawwdddd dan't make no transectuals


    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Nov 2, 2009 8:29:34 PM

  4. And he was suspended because of what exactly????????

    Posted by: stephen | Nov 2, 2009 8:34:46 PM

  5. Oh, the irony of this is delicious. The article about homosexuality in animals meant to poke a hole in Darwinian Theory. The school board’s heads are going to explode trying to figure this one out!

    Posted by: Gary | Nov 2, 2009 8:44:36 PM

  6. Sickening. Simply put, sickening. This man should be commended for introducing "endless forms most beautiful" (darwin was as much a poet as he was a scientist) into the curriculum. There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with homosexuality and darwinian theory, and anyone who suggests otherwise is an enemy of the truth.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 2, 2009 9:30:54 PM

  7. Uh oh, get out the fire extinguishers. Thare's gonna be some cross burnin goin on, ya'll.

    Posted by: Boone68 | Nov 2, 2009 10:13:25 PM

  8. The utter ignorance of people in charge of institutions of learning in our country is totally shameful. It's as if the entire population has just clawed their way out of their mud huts with torches in order to drag things back 40 years. Sad.

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 2, 2009 10:40:08 PM

  9. Telling kids the truth about anything has always been among the fastest ways to get lynched, but this is a particularly delicious example.

    I can't wait to hear the Christofascist objection to a reading assignment that challenges Darwin. Oooh... It's gonna be rich.

    I love living in the collapse of an empire. I can't imagine why anyone bothers with TV.

    Posted by: Bryan | Nov 3, 2009 6:37:47 AM

  10. Update: After last night's meeting they gave him his job back. So, yay for that!

    Posted by: mick | Nov 3, 2009 7:16:17 AM

  11. "F" those idiots. When is it age-appropriate to learn about reality and science?? Sheeeeeesh!

    Posted by: Perry | Nov 3, 2009 8:36:11 AM

  12. Please Oh please - let me win a nice sum of money so I can get my ass out of this miserable country once and for all....America is such a disappointment..and NOTHING, that I Learned about or was told it was growing up...Pathetic and sad actually....Norway/Sweden, Canada?

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Nov 3, 2009 8:51:22 AM

  13. Gary and brian

    It doesn't poke holes or challenge Darwin ( a plagerist by the way...evolution goes back to ancient greek philosophers thousands of yrs ago)

    It challenges Darwinian SEXUALITY not evolution

    It only refines/ challenges darwin's very dated Victorian era biased view on sexuality. In no way does it challenge Evolution (again..NOT original to Darwin at all anyway....1st proposed by ancient materialist greek philosophers thousands of yrs ago)

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Nov 3, 2009 9:33:36 AM

  14. I am behind this teacher 1000%, and I'm glad to see him reinstated.

    Although, I do think the assignment would have been more appropriate for a biology class. I don't think the wingnut parents would have had a leg to stand on if it had been an honors or AP biology class.

    Does anyone know the status of the drama teacher who was "placed on administrative leave" at Corona del Mar High School?

    Posted by: Ken | Nov 3, 2009 10:06:49 AM

  15. "...the administration's concerns centered not on 'sexual preference or homophobic condemnation,' but rather 'the age appropriateness of the material.'"

    I don't understand how it was age inappropriate? I took sex ed in 6th grade and biology as a sophomore in high school. And I watched "Wild Kingdom" on TV as a much younger kid. I think they're old enough to read about sexuality in the animal world.

    Posted by: Grey | Nov 3, 2009 10:48:16 AM

  16. I agree -- the idea that sexuality differs in the natural world in both animals and humans IS age-inapproprite for High School Sophomores. It should be taught to them starting in Kindergarten! If they haven't learned this by hight school, then they have been woefully cheated in their science education or home-schooled by bigots. This is yet another example of right-wingnuts being given credence even thought their message is anti-science.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Nov 3, 2009 10:48:22 AM

  17. By all means, deny reality AT ALL COSTS! It cracks me up that, in order to hold on to their bigoted beliefs, people have to refuse facts and DEMAND to be uneducated. Willful ignorance indeed.

    Posted by: Tonic | Nov 3, 2009 10:58:24 AM

  18. Age inappropriate??? These teens have never heard of gays? Where have these board members been the last few hundred years? The irony is that the board is an education board. Education, as in teaching about the world, and learning about others. I think the board should all be fired for NOT understanding the nature of their jobs.

    Posted by: Reggie | Nov 3, 2009 11:01:48 AM

  19. nothing to do with preference or condemnation? That quote reads like something from a forced-hostage testimony.

    They're SOPHOMORES! Most of them have probably already HAD sex.

    That teacher should get himself on the Board, or get out before he is forced to become a cynic. Why does no one just call, Bullsh*t?!!

    Posted by: stephen | Nov 3, 2009 11:29:58 AM

  20. Oh man, I would have no problem having my 16 yr old read that article. He should not have been suspended in the first place and being made to offer an apology was insulting to the intelligence of his students, as well as to him.

    Posted by: Dai | Nov 3, 2009 12:59:24 PM

  21. Wow, things sure have changed since I graduated from this school in 1996. There was no way students would rally for a teacher, let alone on an issue such as this. I'm glad the school board has finally found some common sense.

    Posted by: BNorth | Nov 3, 2009 2:09:33 PM

  22. You only need to skim the first few paragraphs of the article in question to know why it raised a furor: it contains terms like homosexual societies, genital licking, anal intercourse, ejaculation, all-male orgies, and ardent lesbians, followed by "having homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it."

    Regardless of your feelings on the subject, it's clear that sort of language is not going to be too popular among small-town/small-minded educators.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 3, 2009 2:53:54 PM

  23. Mr DeLong…
    I hope you get this note.
    It’s funny how in today’s society where there is War, Corruption, Violent Realistic Video Games and Movies, Younger than ever Teen Pregnancy, Homophobia (even in politics) and so much more rapidly fragmented issues about life and body and mind and SEX…that this teaching example is pretty damn mild for the age group. I was in 5th grade when we were taught Sex Education by My Pediatrician. That would have made me 10 years old. The boys and girls were separated into 2 classes divided by male or female.
    Now, our teacher was VERY Thorough! Artistically Graphic with diagrams and descriptions. The questions from the boys in the class (by the way this was 1977 NOT 1677 OR 2009) were normal about their genitals, sex, etc…
    The teacher, a doctor once again…answered all these questions…thus educating us about sex and our bodies…and girls bodies…and sexuality…AND even Homosexuality was discussed as a sexual nature between certain couples. Period. Nothing bad, evil, abominable or whatever.
    What I learned…
    How to use a condom and for what reasons.
    Puberty wasn’t so crazy.
    Sexual thoughts, ideas, and desires were normal.
    I was normal.
    I didn’t realize I was Gay until my mid 20s…I had always been with Women.

    Living in Beverly Hills at the time…as a working actor and model…I was advised strongly to “not go there”.
    I heard in my Catholic Church that I was a sinner.
    I heard in Grant Goodeve’s Evengelical Church (Eight Is Enough’s TV oldest, guitar playing brother) that all should pray for “the abominations of God…these Homosexuals…pray that they return to hell and suffer and perish for all eternity.
    I heard from George Bush’s appointed religious leader, Ted Haggard…that I was an abomination and the worst kind of sinner. Meanwhile, in a hotel room…Mr Haggard was smoking Meth with a MALE prostitute…then lied about it…then came forth and said it was only for massages…then said, it was a sinful sexual urge that he has…and if he prays…those feelings will “go away”…NOW he’s touring the talk show circuit CAPITALIZING on how sinful and abominable Gays are…
    Last time I checked, God makes NO mistakes…
    If your Christian…Jesus NEVER Condemned Anyone…
    For those that throw out esoteric verses from the Old Testament…re written and transcribed for thousands of years with biased opinions of the transcriber/re-writer…and POLITICS….I’ll turn the same quotes around and say…THAT means to me, DONT CHEAT ON YOUR PARTNER!

    All I went into detail with is very real in today’s society…and for Mr DeLong’s subject matter…pretaining to animals…was a NON ISSUE…
    The issue I have a problem with are these SELF RIGHTEOUS, IGNORANT, ARROGANT, OPINIONATED, CORRUPT, EVIL WITH HATRED BIGOTS…that make it a problem.
    People like, Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney, Mike Huckabee…ETC!
    It’s nobody’s business whom you love, share a bed and home with, have intimate relationships with, and whom you love…heart and soul.
    These are non issues for anyone…
    What if I had a problem with Dick and Jane for these reasons? Nobody else seems to care about Dick and Jane…
    Unless…Dick is White and Jane is Black…that would be a BIG problem for the same group of bigots that condemn and hate people like me.

    Mr DeLong…
    Thank you for your bravery. Your intelligence. Your dedication to trying your, oh so very best at educating our teenagers. They are tomorrow’s future…and for the problems that arose from your subject matter in regards to the whole parent, press, society etc…condemning and crucifying you…We are in BIG trouble.

    I wish the world would shut the f*** up for once…and just listen.

    The children and so many of us are just crying out for love and understanding.

    Prayers of hope, peace, love…
    and Strength and Courage
    Are being sent your way.
    Please, Mr DeLong…
    Don’t ever, ever stop.
    We…and I, desperately need people like you…
    Maybe, those that condemned should take your class.
    Much love
    And Support
    James Hillis Ford

    Posted by: James Hillis Ford | Nov 3, 2009 6:02:58 PM

  24. Oh My Geebazeebazz I went to Southwestern it is literally between 4 Corn Fields. I am a child of the Corn! I am truely amazed at the light handleing of this matter...I love the towlerance and soft sesor aforded to this teacher by the field workers. i guess with all these goats,cows and lamas "yes i said lamas" up in here... gives you a different view of people as we relate to our animal co-habitants...all i can say is Go Birds! thats the Piasa Birds

    Posted by: paublo | Nov 3, 2009 6:19:05 PM

  25. @jimmyboyo: Neither Bryan nor I said anything about evolution. Further, Darwin no more plagiarized the "ancient materialist greek philosophers," by which I assume you mean Epicurus, than Aquinas plagiarized Aristotle. The materialist school was in full swing among scientists at the time Darwin wrote "Origin".

    In "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" he explicitly linked sexuality to the evolution of specific traits. Natural Selection and Sexual Selection are both evolutionary theories, as stated in the preface of the Seed article.

    Darwinian Sexual Theory is Darwinian Theory, as I stated, and that is what the Creationist are in a tizzy over. And despite your assertion to the contrary, Roughgarden does challenge Darwin when she argues that, "same-sex partnering must be an adaptive trait that’s been carefully preserved by natural selection."

    Posted by: Gary | Nov 3, 2009 8:59:56 PM

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