Discrimination | Oregon

Teacher Admits He Is Gay To Student, Is Fired

23-year-old Lewis and Clark graduate teaching student Seth Stambaugh claims he has been discriminated against while on an assignment as a student teacher at an elementary school in the Beaverton, Oregon Student District. This comes after a second complaint from a parent who had initially already complained about the way Stambaugh was dressed. What was he wearing at the time? According to Oregon Live, "pressed pants, an oxford shirt, a tie and a cardigan. Stambaugh has a light Van Dyke and pulls his hair back into a pony tail." Stambaugh is represented by an attorney, Lake Perriguey.

Seth The Portland Mercury details the second complaint by the very same parent:

Later in the week, Stambaugh was leading a journaling activity in the classroom when one of the students asked whether Stambaugh was married. Stambaugh said he was not and, when the student asked why, replied that it would be illegal for him to get married because he "would choose to marry another guy." The student pressed further, asking if that meant Stambaugh liked to hang out with guys and Stambaugh responded, "Yeah." That was the end of the conversation.

After that, says Perriguey, word of the short conversation apparently got back to parent who had previously complained about Stambaugh's appearance. The parent called the school and threatened to remove his child from the classroom.

On September 15th, the principal of Sexton Mountain called the Beaverton School District and told them that Stambaugh was barred from teaching in the district. Stambaugh was told that the comments he had made about his marital status were "inappropriate."

"There's no factual dispute about what happened," says Stambaugh. "The question is whether we tolerate what happened in this state and this culture."

What makes this even more sad is that Stambaugh is of course teaching for the same reason most people do and it's not for the low pay. He said about teaching: "The long hours, the tiring days, they paled in comparison to the sheer energy I got from being in that classroom."

Lewis & Clark says that Stambaugh was dismissed from the school in Beaverton by the school district and though they would have welcomed a conversation about the incident, none was offered.

Thanks to reader Ms. B, here's the contact information for the school:

Sexton Mountain Elementary School - (503) 672-3560

15645 SW Sexton Mountain Dr. Beaverton, OR 97007

Don Martin, Principal: donald_martin@beavton.k12.or.us

Jerome Colonna, Superintendent: Jerome_Colonna@beaverton.k12.or.us

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  1. The person that made the decision to fire Stambaugh should instead be fired. Put an end to the homophobia for once and for all. If that kid and his bigoted parents can't deal with him being gay that is their problem. Whether they like it or not, there are capable gay teachers out there, and just because they say they don't like it, does not make it an offense. The offense is the hate in their dark hearts!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Oct 2, 2010 9:23:48 PM

  2. Looks like the children in this case are more mature than the parents. What the hell are the parents so afraid of? Do they think that this will turn their child gay? It's not like the teacher made a pass at the child, or anything nasty happened. It was a simple short conversation about one of the prejudices gay people face in this country.

    After so many suicides that have been reported in the past few weeks, you would think that there wouldn't be so many prejudices and bigotry about this and that parents would be more willing to talk to their children, but I guess this will never change. I just don't understand this society sometimes.

    Posted by: Matthew | Oct 2, 2010 9:25:54 PM

  3. Seth Stambaugh may have cause for a lawsuit. The idea that someone could be fired over such an innocuous statement, based on the complaint of one parent, seems ludicrous. And the bar to future employment of any kind within the district, is truly mind-numbing. I always made it a point to deflect such questions, as I didn't want my personal life to become an issue in my class. Also, not every question a student asks requires an answer when it comes to personal privacy.

    Posted by: Jerry | Oct 2, 2010 9:42:07 PM

  4. The conversation should have stopped with are you married? A simple no is sufficient, and the teacher needs to take control of the situation if he or she is serious about teaching elementary students.

    Posted by: phineas | Oct 2, 2010 9:43:18 PM

  5. Guys, it's time for us to floor both the school and the school district with phone calls expressing our outrage.

    Posted by: Jeff | Oct 2, 2010 9:44:39 PM

  6. Welcome to Second-Class Citizenship I: No marriage, no livelihood, no choices.

    Posted by: Jay | Oct 2, 2010 9:53:40 PM

  7. Sue the motherfuckers! This is such bullshit.

    Posted by: Phil | Oct 2, 2010 9:56:57 PM

  8. I can't be mature about this -

    fucking bigots. getting tired of fighting them.

    Posted by: jon | Oct 2, 2010 9:58:27 PM

  9. ENDA, bitches. We need to push harder for that law to end this heinous crap.

    Posted by: princely54 | Oct 2, 2010 9:58:36 PM

  10. "The conversation should have stopped with are you married? A simple no is sufficient, and the teacher needs to take control of the situation if he or she is serious about teaching elementary students."

    It is precisely this attitude that so many gay people share in conjunction with the weakness that many gays express in failing to put an abrupt stop to this kind of passivity and internalized homophobia...that is a large reason why we're still where we are. Weakness is sickness.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 2, 2010 9:58:54 PM

  11. He shouldn't have engaged the student in this conversation. He shouldn't have been let go for his answer. The parent is a conservative bully that runs their life by emotional outbursts and has no self control (who complains about the way teachers are dressed...)

    Posted by: Shawn | Oct 2, 2010 10:00:01 PM

  12. mr stambough is a young teacher who just spoke the truth without inflection ...
    his future looks bright from my perspective.
    the child with that parent, however, their future is looking a little blurred.

    Posted by: designingwally | Oct 2, 2010 10:00:33 PM

  13. Let's see the situation:
    1. The child asked the teacher if he was married. What made the child ask such a question? It had nothing to do with the subject the teacher was teaching. Obviously, something or someone put him up to it.

    2. The teacher answered the question honestly. Was he supposed to lie and say he was married?

    3. Then the child asked him why he was nor married.

    At this point, the whole thing is made clear: The child was put up to it by the child's parents, and the Principle had to have been part of it because telling the truth as to why he was not married cleared the way for the trap to be sprung.

    The whole situation is so transparent that it would be laughable if it was not so blatantly bigoted.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Oct 2, 2010 10:06:05 PM

  14. Most schools require teachers to keep quiet about their personal lives, particularly marriage. But that in no way is grounds to fire someone over. It's ludicrous. Oh and the whole clothing issue is just ridiculous.

    Posted by: Amanda | Oct 2, 2010 10:07:53 PM

  15. Dear god in heaven. Teachers wearing oxford shirts, ties, and cardigans! With loose morals like that, what's next? Installing stripper polls in kindergarten?! Fire and brimstone raining from heaven?!! Dogs and cats sleeping together?!!!

    Lord, to be a fly on the wall the day this hateful harpy of a parent's kid tells 'em he's gay. 'cause karma-wise, you all KNOW it's gonna happen.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Oct 2, 2010 10:08:31 PM

  16. i would go for 6 mil in damages from the parents who are responsible for this fiasco by recruited their kid to ask inappropriate personal questions.

    Posted by: ty | Oct 2, 2010 10:25:27 PM

  17. BTW, if the question had been to a straight teacher (let's call her Miss Betty), it would have likely gone like this:

    Kid: Miss Betty, are you married?

    Miss Betty: Why no, but I AM engaged! I'm engaged to the most wonderful man on earth! Here's my engagement ring... (waves her hand in front of the class) isn't it pretty?


    Miss Betty: After we get married, we're taking our honeymoon in Hawaii! Won't that be fun? I'll bring back pictures of our wedding day to show everyone in class!

    ...If the conversation had gone like that, the same parent who complained about the gay teacher would probably have baked Miss Betty a great big congratulatory bundt cake.

    Saying the gay teacher should have just ignored or deflected the "are you married" conversation is passively accepting the role of second-class citizen foisted on us by the worst of the homophobes.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Oct 2, 2010 10:30:10 PM

  18. DADT has been a huge distraction.

    ENDA is what matters!!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 2, 2010 10:33:02 PM

  19. Sue, Sue, SUE! Sue their damn butts off. Sorry, we're just not going to put up with this shit any longer. Nail their sorry asses for a couple of million dollars. Let the school district go straight to hell in a hand-basket. Next time the Principal can remove the student and his parents can put him in private school.

    We are simply not going to put up with this shit any longer.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 2, 2010 10:36:39 PM

  20. This is infuriating, but more importantly, what message is this sending to the kids?

    Posted by: Mikail | Oct 2, 2010 10:38:27 PM

  21. This story makes me sick.

    Posted by: james Brown | Oct 2, 2010 10:48:40 PM

  22. Jerry6, you obviously don't spend much time around kids. They want to get to know their teachers and will ask those questions. I wouldn't read any conspiracy into it. The difference is that straight teachers can discuss their spouses and children, and are even encouraged to bring their spouses and children to school events. How is it right that gays must shut up about it? If a kid asks and we are told that we can only decline to talk about it, then that immediately outs us. It's a de facto DADT ideology in the classroom. As a teacher in South Carolina, I have a cover story that I use when I'm asked. I hate lying to the kids, but I need this job.

    Posted by: JT | Oct 2, 2010 10:53:16 PM

  23. A true teacher isn't afraid to do the right thing, and answer a student's question. Questions about a teacher's personal life shouldn't always be the center of a lesson, but establishing a bond between teacher and pupil is essential, and as previous posters have mentioned, heterosexual teachers share this kind of information with their students all the time. As a substitute teacher, I've gotten all kinds of questions hurled at me, and I have learned how to answer without lying and still keep the students on task. If there is a policy in a district which prohibits any and all such discussions, teachers are effectively having their hands tied.

    Posted by: Andy F | Oct 2, 2010 11:46:03 PM

  24. This is just another way society tries to force gays into denying their orientation, in essence making them ACT like they're ashamed, which perpetuates the notion that being gay is shameful. It's a vicious circle.

    The true shame of this, is that if more gay teachers were allowed (even encouraged) to be honest and open, gay kids would have more visible role models and more chances to see that while there may be greater social pressures to conform during their teen years they can go on to lead normal, healthy, happy lives.

    Parents need to become aware that an open and honest gay teacher poses MUCH LESS risk of engaging in unethical interactions with students than a teacher who feels that his or her sexuality is something shameful that must be kept hidden and secret at any cost..

    Posted by: sparks | Oct 2, 2010 11:57:18 PM

  25. The child asked the teacher if he was married. What made the child ask such a question? It had nothing to do with the subject the teacher was teaching. Obviously, something or someone put him up to it.


    Are you serious? Kids ask such questions all the time because they're *curious*.

    Posted by: Lucky | Oct 3, 2010 12:07:46 AM

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