Bigotry is not a natural instinct, it is taught. Homosexuality is as natural as the sun in the sky, but ignorant, hateful people will never accept that fact. The suspension of this high school teacher in Piasa, Illinois is a perfect example of how this hatred and ignorance infests the minds of our children:
Yesterday, Mr. Delong, a 10th and 12th grade Honors English teacher in Piasa, IL was suspended for assigning an article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom to his students. Should teachers ask their students to read about controversial topics? Should we allow parents veto power over the curriculum
Mr. Delong is reportedly a married, heterosexual teacher who identifies as an ally of the GLBTQ community and clearly has the respect and admiration of his students. This is just one of many examples of how teachers are taught to be conservative and non-controversial and why GLBTQ youth don't feel safe in schools. If a school district considers teaching with a scientific article written by a professor at Stanford University and published in a popular science magazine as controversial and worthy of suspension - then how can we convince other educators to stand up and teach critically? In order to help students learn to become critical thinkers and active citizens in a participatory democracy, it is essential to have teachers encourage students to question normative thinking and learn to critically evaluate information for themselves -- particulary with respect to sex, gender, and sexuality.
I applaud Mr. Delong for attempting to teach his students the art of critical thinking and to open their minds to facts. There is a Facebook page supporting Mr. Delong, stop by and show your support if you like.