Michigan Teacher Suspended for Playing Macklemore's Equality Anthem is Back in Class, Her Pay Restored
Susan Johnson, who received a two-day unpaid suspension for allowing a student to play Macklemore's equality anthem "Same Love" in class, has returned to school, and officials are speaking out after public outrage over the punishment, the Detroit News reports:
"I am willing to not uphold the suspension, but the violation of the district practice regarding web-based clips and our expectations for instructions previewing materials under this will remain in writing," he said in a statement.
The president of the South Lyon Education Association, which represents the district's teachers, said he supports members' efforts to foster tolerance and understanding "without equivocation"
"We also know that teachers need to follow administrative policies and, yet, we feel the district's initial response, a two-day unpaid suspension, to one of our members showing a video clip without submitting the required form, was excessive," said Jim Brennan. "After voicing our concerns, we are pleased that the district reconsidered, and chose to rescind the two-day unpaid suspension. We look forward to meeting with the district to come up with a final resolution."
Johnson received a statement of support from Macklemore following the incident.
Josh Pacheco, a high school junior from Fenton, Michigan, committed suicide on November 27. His parents, Lynnette and Michael Capeheart, believe anti-gay bullying is to blame MLive reports:
...Lynnette and stepfather Michael Capehart said they didn't know until recently that Pacheco was bullied.
Capehart said her first indication that there was a problem came after the homecoming dance on Oct. 6. She was out of town, so she called to see how the dance was. It was the only one he attended this fall. Pacheco was upset and crying, but wouldn’t tell her why, Capehart said.
After his death, she found out from students that her son had been pushed into lockers and teased at school. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t tell many people about it, Lynnette Capehart said, because Pacheco never wanted to make anyone else upset.
Pacheco's depression worsened and his parents made an appointment for him to see a counselor, but it was apparently too late:
Around lunch time on Nov. 27, Michael Capehart saw Josh's Facebook status, quoting a line from Bilbo Baggins, a character in the "Lord of the Rings" movies: "I regret to announce that this is the end. I'm going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye."
It immediately worried Michael Capehart. Pacheco was home sick that day, so Capehart called his neighbor to check on Pacheco. He was found unresponsive in his truck, which had been running in the closed-up garage.
He left a note in the truck: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough."
Pacheco's parents heard more tales of bullying after his death, but school officials say none was ever reported. School officials have accelerated plans for an anti-bullying hotline.
Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke to reporters at a conference in Kenya today, calling on Uganda to drop its anti-homosexuality bill, RNS reports:
“I am opposed to discrimination, that is unfair discrimination, and would that I could persuade legislators in Uganda to drop their draft legislation, because I think it is totally unjust,” Tutu told reporters here on Tuesday at the All Africa Conference of Churches meeting...
...“My brothers and sisters, you stood with people who were oppressed because of their skin color. If you are going to be true to the Lord you worship, you are also going to be there for the people who are being oppressed for something they can do nothing about: their sexual orientation,” he said.
Tutu said people do not choose their sexual orientation, and would be crazy to choose homosexuality “when you expose yourself to so much hatred, even to the extent of being killed.”
The bill could be debated and voted on at any time.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John released the video for "I Think You Might Like It", the first track off their duet holiday album, which features Grease-inspired images of them motoring along in a 50's car, and Travolta disembarking from a plane the way he might greet, oh, a lover, or a nanny.
They reunited again today on Ellen and talked with her about making Grease, making their duet album, and Travolta's life with Kelly Preston, as well as their charity work.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
On the charities that are important to them:
Cheyenne Jackson previews the video for his upcoming release "Don't Wanna Know" which features hip-thrusting construction workers dancing on scaffolding and choreographed dancing in the park with multi-colored umbrellas. Is there any question this boy comes from Broadway?
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Vikings punter and the Ravens linebacker offer GQ a joint interview about gay players in the NFL and the moment this year when Maryland lawmaker Emmett C. Burns came after Ayanbadejo's gay rights advocacy and got tackled by Kluwe:
Ayanbadejo: I was in the locker room when I heard about Chris's letter. I saw a line from it in a tweet: "They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster." I was like, "Oh, my God, I need to focus all my attention on this. I'm going to lock myself in a room, and I'm gonna enjoy every moment." Over the next few days, I had conversations with five to ten of the [Ravens players] about what had happened. I asked them if they could play with a gay player. Everybody was like, "Yeah, I totally could." So that was pretty impressive. It shouldn't be impressive, but it was.
Kluwe: The first player to come out is going to face unprecedented media scrutiny. It'll be historic. It's gonna have to be someone tough enough to deal with the distractions. And hopefully he'll know that not just me and Brendon but other players support him.