Teacher asked to resign for playing LGBT anti-bullying video
A teacher at a school in Kansas has been asked to resign – after playing a viral anti-homophobia video to 14 year olds.
Tom Leahy, who teaches social studies at Conway Springs Middle School in the tiny Kansas town, was the centre of a controversy this week.
As part of a history lesson on tolerance for an Eighth grade class – aged 13 to 14 – the teacher played short film ‘Love Is All You Need’.
The hugely popular anti-bullying clip, which has more than 12 million views on YouTube, holds a mirror to homophobia by inviting people to imagine a world where homosexuality is the norm and straight people are ‘othered’ like gay people are in reality.
However, Mr Leahy told the Wichita Eagle that the video had “upset too many people” in the predominantly-Catholic town, and that he has been asked to step down despite teaching at the school since 1997.
He added: “I knew something was going to happen. I just didn’t know this would happen.”
However, afterwards the school was barraged by complaints from parents who claimed they were unhappy with the subject matter and tone of the clip.
The film features scenes of Church-instituted heterophobia, which some parents objected to, while others attacked the portrayal of suicide.
The teacher told the newspaper: “I didn’t want just a dorky little film… I wanted something that was important, something that was serious. So that’s the one I came up with.
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“I’m not saying what I did was very smart. It really wasn’t – but I’m a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy, and it seemed right at the time.”
He was put on leave last month after the incident – but says he has now been told no to come back.
Mr Leahy said: “There are people who don’t want their children in my classroom.
“I thought that I’d take a little time off and then come back, and people would cool their heels and everything would be better. That didn’t happen.”
The school board confirmed to the newspaper that the teacher was on leave – but would not discuss details of the case.