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Oklahoma teacher resigns over gay film Staff Writer March 17, 2009
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A teacher in Oklahoma, US, has lost her job after showing students The Laramie Project, a film about murdered gay teenager Matthew Shepard.

Debra Taylor resigned from Grandfield High School after showing the film and allowing students to film their own short clips about it.

Several weeks into the project, school officials told her to stop production on the project, which featured strong language.

After students protested, she then held a 20-minute “funeral” for the cancelled project, in which her class wrote their thoughts on notes pushed inside helium balloons.

According to Taylor and school officials, she lost her job for complaining to a school board member about the class being cancelled.

She said that Superintendent Ed Turlington put her on paid leave and recommended she be sacked. She handed in her resignation last week.

However, others have said the loss of her job was due to the subject matter of the film.

Senior Matt Ebner, one of Taylor’s former students, told USA Today: “They don’t want something like this addressed in our community.”

The film was based on a play by the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project and features interviews with Laramie residents after Shepard’s death.

Related topics: Americas

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