Over the summer, my 13 year old daughter came out as gay. I wasn't bothered by this at all as a parent. My biggest concern was how others would react. We live in a small, rural community that is slow to accept anything or anybody that is "different. I always taught my kids to embrace the differences in themselves and others and made sure they knew that my love is unconditional. Unfortunately, not everybody thinks like that and we've already run into an issue with a teacher of all people.
School just started a few weeks ago, and I was a little nervous for my daughter since this was her first time at school since coming out. I was mainly concerned that other kids would call her names or not want to hang out with her, but so far, this hasn't been an issue. This generation is much more accepting than my generation was, thankfully. One thing I did not expect was for there to be issues with adults, especially not teachers. As a teacher myself, my mind has been blown by the way this particular teacher handled this situation. Most schools give training to staff on how to handle sensitive issues when they arise in a classroom, but this teacher was way off base.
The incident happened in my daughter's 8th grade health class. The class is all girls because sex education is taught in 8th grade so they separate the boys and girls into different classes. The teacher had the students working in groups to write a paper. Her instructions to the class were to write about a scenario when they would need advice from their parents/ caregiver. She then gave the example of asking your mom for advice if you were having boy problems. My daughter, being gay, went to the teacher in private, and asked if she could do her paper on asking your mom for advice with girl problems instead. The teacher responded by telling her that she couldn't do her paper on that because she needs to keep it "rated PG".
- First of all, the teacher cannot tell her she can't write about it from the standpoint of somebody who's gay because that's discrimination
- Second, the teacher is the one who used the example to begin with, so how can she now say she can't use it
- Third, why is it ok if it's from a straight person's point of view, but becomes dirty or "not rated PG" if it's the exact same scenario from a gay person's point of view
When my daughter came home and told me about this, my initial thought was to go to the school and personally rip her a new one, but after some thought, I changed my mind. I told my daughter that she can write her paper on asking your mom for advice with girl problems. I've decided to give the teacher the opportunity to re-think her position on the issue and hope she handles it right, because if she doesn't, I feel like the principal and the school board need to be made aware. I'm not going to stand by and allow a teacher to make my daughter or anyone else feel like they are less than or dirty because of their sexual orientation. If she didn't want to deal with the issue, she shouldn't have opened it up by using the example she chose. Junior High is a difficult enough time in most people's lives without having a teacher acting ignorant toward you.
I will update the article once the paper has been turned in. Wish me and my beautiful daughter luck.