This comes in Two parts to this story. First the main story and then what happened to the substitute teacher.
Part One:Three Utah Girls Stood Up To a Teacher Who Condemned a Boy For Having Two Dads
By Megan H
A group of girls knew exactly what to do when they heard their fifth-grade substitute teacher at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah castigate a classmate who said that, for Thanksgiving, he was most thankful that he was “finally going to be adopted by my two dads.” The teacher launched into a 10-minute lecture on why “two men living together is a sin,” so the girls protested. Several times.
When their efforts failed to deter the teacher, the three girls left the room to get the principal and the teacher was escorted unceremoniously out of the classroom.
Courtney Tanner of the Salt Lake Tribune tells the story:
Students later said that the substitute snapped, “Why on earth would you be happy about that?”
For the next 10 minutes she lectured the 30 kids in the class about her own views, how “homosexuality is wrong” and “two men living together is a sin.” She looked at the boy, too, and told him: “That’s nothing to be thankful for.”
“She also tried to blame our son,” said one of the boy’s dads, Louis van Amstel, “and told him that it was his fault that she went off.”
For their part, the school seems to have handled everything properly. They alerted van Amstel and his husband Josh almost immediately. They said disciplinary action would be taken against the substitute teacher (though we don’t know details).
The saddest thing about this story may be that the boy at the center of it all was reluctant to challenge his teacher out of fear that it might hurt his chances of having the adoption finalized, after two previous unsuccessful attempts. That process is scheduled to be completed the week before Christmas. Kudos to the school officials who stepped up and did what was needed, but more needs to be done so that students aren’t victimized by such bigoted individuals. It’s not clear — or public, anyway — how the public school district will handle such incidents in the future. They work with an outside company when it comes to hiring substitutes, but Utah’s state code regulating subs allows just about anyone to get certified. But teachers who preach faith-based discrimination in public school classrooms should be unsuitable, period.
Van Amstel also posted a heartfelt message on Twitter.
Our child was bullied. pic.twitter.com/gZ5yI0Z2F0
— Louis van Amstel (@LouisVanAmstel) November 22, 2019
We don’t know who the three girls were who stood up for their classmate, but they, too, deserve heartfelt praise for refusing to let an adult bully their classmate.
Van Amstel also said he talked to the mother of one of the girls after the incident. He remembers her telling him, “I am so glad that I raised my daughter in a way where she would stand up for what’s right.”
A few days later, the family’s neighbors also decorated their house with paper hearts that said “We love you” and “We support you.”
There’s hope for the future even if some adults can’t overcome their own homophobia.
Part Two: Utah school fires substitute teacher who told 5th-graders ‘homosexuality is wrong’
Students at Deerfield Elementary School said she unleashed an anti-gay rant.
By Karma Allen
A substitute teacher from Utah was fired after she allegedly told a classroom full of fifth-graders that “homosexuality is wrong” during a Thanksgiving exercise about gratitude.
Students at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah, said she launched into an angry anti-gay rant when a classmate expressed that he was thankful for his two fathers. The school confirmed the incident in a statement to ABC News on Sunday.
“When our son Daniel answered the substitute teacher’s question, ‘What are you thankful for?’ with, ‘I’m thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads,’ the teacher went on to sharing her own views on homosexuality and that it’s wrong,” Louis van Amstel, one of the boy’s dads, said on Twitter.
“I’m truly disgusted that the bully in this situation is a teacher in a public school,” he added.
The rant lasted for about 10 minutes with the teacher lamenting about why “homosexuality is wrong” until three students went to notify the school’s principal, according to van Amstel. The three students had asked her to stop multiple times, but she refused, he said.
Van Amstel, a professional choreographer who has appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” said the school notified him immediately after the incident unfolded, saying the teacher had been removed from the classroom.
“You can imagine why that set us off and we are not letting this go,” van Amstel said in a video posted online on Nov. 22. “I am so proud of Daniel’s school. Not only did they let go of the teacher, but they said this woman is never going to teach in this school ever again.”
Kelly Services, which provides substitutes teacher for the Alpine School District, confirmed that the teacher had been fired in a statement to ABC News on Sunday.
“We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate conduct and take these matters very seriously,” a spokesperson for the agency said. “We conducted an investigation and made the decision to end the employee’s relationship with Kelly Services.”
Alpine School District spokesman David Stephenson did not share details about how the situation unfolded, but he did confirm that the school had a problem with one of its substitute teachers.
“I can confirm that there was a situation involving a substitute,” Stephenson told ABC News on Sunday. “The school took appropriate action that day based upon their investigation.”