1. says

    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.

  2. Francis says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. Grover Underwood says

    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.

  5. marc says

    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?

  6. marc says

    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.

  7. Snap Judgment says

    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.

  8. johnny says

    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.

  9. Bob says

    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.

  10. says

    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!

  11. ajax2828 says

    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.

  12. SC David says

    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.


  13. andrew says

    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.

  14. AC says

    I’m from Michigan and I fully support the actions made by this schools administration. Playing this video for a mixed group was totally inappropriate and I imagine that some of the parents wouldn’t have been too keen on their children being exposed to it. Keep the sociopolitical agendas out of the classroom.

  15. Diogenes Arktos says

    @AC: In other words: the anti-LGBT sociopolitical agenda must be given precedence over the LGBT-friendly sociopolitical agenda.

    One has to be very careful about what students may be excused from hearing. We are talking middle school here. The Religious Right opposes divorce. How then do you teach the Reformation in England? Some of the Religious Right oppose women’s suffrage. How do you teach early 20c American History? More than the Religious Right teach a 6000 year old earth. How do you teach the currently accepted basis of multiple sciences?

    Reality exists as it exists, not as many people want to pretend it exists. Public school needs to teach facts of reality and the one value of facing up to reality. Values, in general, need to be taught at home. Fine, at home you learn that divorce is a sin – the fact is, however, many people are divorced and you have to learn to deal with that fact and those people. The same is true for many other issues.

  16. SC David says

    Thanks, El. I will write Ms. Johnson today.

    I received a brief answer from Melissa Baker, who claims she truly does “continue to reflect on every email and communication” and sent me the press release from the Superintendent. It’s got one of those awful non-apology apologies “if I offended anyone.”

    I wish I could share it, but Belonsky and Towleroad don’t seem to have a published email box where I can forward it.

  17. RexT says

    Adult “Bullying” remains alive and well, and between the ACLU and (if part of one) her Local Union should be right there by Ms Johnson’s side. Thinking back to 8th Grade – putting myself in a classroom, clearly aware I was ‘different” (1966) – and absolutely no one to speak with, turn to, nothing – a complete void – even a course with a name like ‘performing arts’ … oh to have heard this song and seen this video! To know peers have heard this song and how it actually resonates, something to openly ‘discuss’ and talk about – just to talk about it!

    The ongoing marginalization of our lives, ‘social issues’ – is nothing more than words purposely used to toss us (along with everyone else) to the side. We are not a ‘social issue’ – we are all human issues and Susan Johnson has, (and certainly not part of “The Agenda”), helped tear down one more wall. Not without pain – and struggle.

    And as far as @ AC goes, how lame your comment is. The ‘social’ element of society is present in all of lives – every day. Check in with reality and you might find the actual ‘agenda’ is your very own.

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