Education | Macklemore | Michigan | News

Michigan School Suspends Teacher For Playing Pro-Gay 'Same Love': VIDEO


South Lyon's Centennial Middle School in Michigan suspended performing arts teacher Susan Johnson for letting a student play Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' pro-marriage equality song "Same Love."

Even though the song is about celebrating everyone, the school sided with an offended student and told Johnson to take three-days off, two of which were without pay.

"I was paralyzed. I really didn't understand why I was being suspended," she told the local Fox News affiliate. "I'm very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry that I feel that they're really hiding behind."

"I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there's a lot of bullying and there's a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are," said the teacher, who has contacted the ACLU about the matter.

The school wouldn't comment on the situation, saying, "We don't go on camera here in South Lyon." Alrighty, then.

Watch the news report and the "Same Love" video AFTER THE JUMP.

[via Gawker]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. this woman is a TRUE educator and vanguard and michigan is once again showing its ugly side.

    they are indeed hiding behind bigotry, and this woman should receive a groundswell of support. condemnation and shaming are due for the sorry parties responsible for punishing her for her attempt to enlighten her students.

    the "offended" student is the one who needed this message more than anything else.

    and for what it's worth, i hope that offended student becomes a pariah in the hallways.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 29, 2012 12:49:56 PM

  2. It's always the schools in these suburban towns that blatantly discriminate against teachers who dare make a pro-gay statement or have a student wear a pro-gay t-shirt. How can anyone be surprised homophobia runs so deep in so many schools countrywide when administrators are so OFTEN homophobic themselves? They not only don't care about LGBT students, or pro-gay straight students, they actively discriminate against them and actively instill an anti-gay culture by promoting the idea that being gay is inappropriate.

    I'd love to hear the cowardly "we don't go on camera" administration at South Lyon answer how this song is inappropriate for these teens to listen to.

    What are we going to do to make sure this type of stuff doesn't keep happening? The well-being and safety of our youth are really at stake here.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 29, 2012 1:01:22 PM

  3. this, folks, is the reason that talk of those gay/queer-centric schools keeps coming up: not only are kids not being helped, but the BULLIES are being catered to!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 29, 2012 1:11:01 PM

  4. This song isn't a political commentary. It just states facts. The right wing conservatives support oppression, the basis of anti-lgbt views does come from religion, and there is no freedom until we are all equal.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Nov 29, 2012 1:15:19 PM

  5. Just love the condescension from the school official...

    You wouldn't want to be gay at that place.

    Posted by: Remote Patrolled | Nov 29, 2012 1:22:36 PM

  6. fight it back girl!!

    Posted by: Bosie | Nov 29, 2012 1:31:12 PM

  7. she's a performing arts teacher so wouldn't it be okay for her to show music videos in her class? It's not like she was a math teacher and showed this.

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Nov 29, 2012 1:36:38 PM

  8. Here is their mission statement.

    Mission Statement
    In support of our community, the mission of South Lyon Community Schools is to provide the highest quality educational process, so that all students can excel as individuals, and become contributing members of society.

    Now, tell me again why this teacher was suspended?

    Posted by: marc | Nov 29, 2012 1:42:02 PM

  9. Mission Statement
    The Centennial Middle School partnership of staff, parents, and community will provide its students with an opportunity to achieve their individual potential through diverse and challenging educational experiences in a safe, cooperative environment that respects individual differences and fosters productive, independent, and responsible citizens.

    Posted by: marc | Nov 29, 2012 1:42:35 PM

  10. This doesn't quite add up for me, at least not yet. While I am inclined to be sympathetic to the teacher and would generally be supportive of the message in the song, I have a sense that there are more facts than are presented here. Was this part of a class project? Part of a class presentation? Just background music?

    Is there a teacher's union? (This is what unions are FOR.) Was there no due process? Just an immediate suspension? Did she not retain an attorney? Why go straight to the ACLU?

    I hope she sues to have receive backpay, and to have the suspension removed from her dossier, and to enjoin administrators from illegally stifling speech in the future. But I feel that there is a lot more to know about the facts surrounding the case.

    Posted by: Snap Judgment | Nov 29, 2012 1:44:37 PM

  11. If anyone would like to reach out to the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents of the school district, here are their email address:,,,

    Posted by: Landon J. Harris | Nov 29, 2012 1:51:53 PM

  12. A bet the whiny little sh*t that complained is a real piece of work.

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 29, 2012 1:56:28 PM

  13. How dare a performing arts teacher allow students to choose what songs they play!!!??

    Posted by: Brent | Nov 29, 2012 2:01:07 PM

  14. In a way, this is worse than racial bias. We all know people of color exist, but the school is trying to hide anything gay from students as if it didn't exist. Just push it back into the closet and hide it forever.

    So 1950s.

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 29, 2012 2:02:55 PM

  15. I love the way the newscasters end the story... there is a distinct "WTF" tone in their voices. This is a bad thing, but change is coming and it's only a matter of time.

    Posted by: Bob | Nov 29, 2012 2:15:57 PM

  16. Here ya go. Principal and administrators:,,,,

    Posted by: rf7777 | Nov 29, 2012 2:36:19 PM

  17. Hey everybody,

    Here are the CONTACT ADDRESSES of the officials who decided to suspend her. How about telling them, in a courteous and civil manner, that what they did was absolutely the wrong thing to do?!

    - Baker, Melissa (Assistant Superintendent):
    - Pearson, William (Superintendent):
    - Ross, Derrek (CMS Principal):


    Posted by: El | Nov 29, 2012 2:59:37 PM

  18. The song in question is CRITICAL OF PEOPLE LIKE THEM, and that is the exact reason why they took action! Ms. Johnson acted from a place of love, to show that despite differences, everyone is welcome in her class. The admins, on the other hand, acted out of hate, inevitably showing that not all are welcome at their school... not unless they hide their true selves and emulate conformity.

    Gross that something like that can legitimately hide behind the term "educator" and go unpunished!

    Posted by: El | Nov 29, 2012 3:05:52 PM

  19. I'm just offended that the video is seven minutes long. Edit much?

    Posted by: Todd X | Nov 29, 2012 3:17:47 PM

  20. Thanks, everyone who posted the e-mail addresses of the superintendent, principal, and other administrative officials. I heartily encourage e-mailing them to express your extreme displeasure. One thing that really disturbs me is the effect that this will have on gay and lesbian students, especially those who are struggling with their identity and/or who are being bullied. What kind of message does it send when a teacher plays a song supportive of equal rights for LGBT people and gets suspended from teaching for 3 days as a result? Shame and fear for the students are the consequence.

    Posted by: ajax2828 | Nov 29, 2012 5:18:22 PM

  21. Does anyone have access to the email for the suspended teacher, Susan Johnson? I think she might appreciate some notes of support.

    Posted by: SC David | Nov 29, 2012 10:08:49 PM

  22. My note to Ms. Baker, the snippy blonde ass't superintendent shown briefly in the video:

    Dear Ms. Baker:

    This evening I watched the Detroit Fox 2 clip regarding Susan Johnson, whom you chose to suspend for allowing a student to play a gay-positive song in her 8th grade performing arts class.

    White a brief television clip may not show the entire story, I must say that your behavior is unprofessional. It is cowardly. It is unconscionable non-leadership. You are the one who deserved to be suspended, because you are the danger to students. And let's add to that, you are strikingly arrogant for your snide aside that you just don't do comments for the press.

    For the gay kids I know that made it through junior high school, being gay meant being routinely beaten, bullied and mocked. It meant (wrongly) having little hope of a happy, successful life or stable relationship. It meant a false expectation that their adulthood would mean continued fear, rejection, and danger. Many of us barely survived that. Some did not. Your ugly sentiments reinforce that hate, and are extraordinarily toxic to the children entrusted to your care. A kind, accepting, wise instructor like Susan Johnson would have meant the world to young gay kids, and encouraged their straight peers to be more accepting and tolerant.

    How many children at your school will be pushed toward substance abuse, depression or suicide because of your irresponsible behavior? Do you even care? How many straight kids will be enabled as bullies and future assailants? Do you care about them?

    I suggest you spend some time educating yourself with the Trevor Foundation, or watching the videos in the It Gets Better campaign. If you can't see how evil and harmful your behavior was, you really should get out of teaching. Children are too valuable to be exposed to your toxicity.


    Posted by: SC David | Nov 29, 2012 10:40:52 PM

  23. This is absolutely ridiculous!

    Posted by: Reality | Nov 29, 2012 10:47:56 PM

  24. A complaint should be filed with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

    Posted by: Reality | Nov 29, 2012 10:57:21 PM

  25. The tolerant and understanding students in that school should befriend the "offended" student and try to bring him or her around to a more open and accepting view of humans who are different from him/her.

    Posted by: andrew | Nov 29, 2012 10:58:42 PM

Post a comment


« «Homophobia, Income Inequality Hinder HIV Services« «