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Teacher suspended for teaching class what ‘bottom’ means

Joseph McCormick November 11, 2017
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A gay couple in bed

A gay couple in bed (rt69/flickr.com)

A teacher at a New York school has been suspended from her job after teaching students about LGBT issues including about the term “bottom”.

Jacqueline Hall, the health teacher at the Cambridge Central High School, was suspended with pay after inviting a guest lecturer to teach about LGBT issues.

A second day of lectures by the Pride Centre of the Capital Region was also cancelled by the school.

Parents had complained about a pack given out to students which taught about gender identity and sexual orientation.

The packet given out in the lesson included definitions of terms like ‘lesbian’, ‘transgender’, ‘cisgender’ and ‘bottom’.

It defined bottom as: “A person who is said to take a more submissive role during sexual interactions.”

Young LGBT reported missing school after experiencing bullying.

One parent, Sirell Fiel, took to Facebook, recording a video expressing his disgust that his child would be taught about gender identity.

“When it comes to teaching our kids certain things, that should be left up to us,” he says in the video.

“Not the school district. Not health class in seventh grade.”

He also encouraged other parents to find the booklet and confiscate it.

The parent also took aim at the booklet for teaching the 11-year-old class that some people have same-sex relationships.

“This is something my eleven-year-old definitely does not need to know in health class in seventh grade,” he said.

“Unacceptable.”

Fiel did accept that students should be taught not to bully people for their sexual orientation.

He described the booklet as “state-funded porn”.

“Genital reconstruction surgery!” Fiel exclaimed, working through the extensive list. “Is that really something an eleven-year-old kid should be learning and knowing about? Nah. I don’t think so.”

In the video, Fiel says he plans to make phone calls to complain about the reading material.

He says he thinks parents should have been informed prior to the class that it was taking place.

“They are literally taking the innocence out of our children every day with this BS,” he says.

The superintendent of the school, Vince Canini, previously said he has concerns about the class.

“The parents have concerns, and they are mine as well,” he told the Post Star.

Canini also said the booklet contained information he considered to be “inappropriate.”

He said it was “standard procedure” to suspend the teacher and that there had been no prior issue.

But he said that the school would be changing its policy.

“This is not what we would normally do… and you can be rest-assured it will not happen again.”

But he has since said the school has no issue with teaching about LGBT+ issues, but that the suspension was about teaching age-appropriate materials.

“The District teaches gender identity and many other health topics to its students as required by the New York State Education Department,’ he told NBC News.

“The District has no issue with doing so and believes it is appropriate to do so to encourage diversity and acceptance among students and our community.”

The superintendent added: “There was a list of ‘Common Terms and Definitions’ in the materials distributed which contained street jargon, slang, or sexual positions which we do not believe were age appropriate to the middle school students being taught.

“All educators bear a responsibility to teach required curriculum, but to also ensure that the materials used to do so are age appropriate to the students involved.”

The Pride Centre of the Capital Region says it provides “training and education [as] an essential component in creative safer schools and community spaces for LGBTQA young people”.

Related topics: school, suspended, teacher, US

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