South Lyon teacher suspended for playing song about being gay - New York News

South Lyon teacher suspended for playing song about being gay

Posted: Updated:

By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


SOUTH LYON, Mich. (WJBK) -- A South Lyon performing arts teacher hit a low note with school officials.  She was suspended without pay for playing a song about being gay during class.

It was like any other day at South Lyon's Centennial Middle School.  Inside Ms. Johnson's eighth grade performing arts class.  Last Wednesday, a student asked if he could play a song.

"I asked him a few questions about the song.  If it was violent, if there was any profanity, and he said no.  And I said this sounds like a great song to go ahead and use for the class," said Susan Johnson.

The song is called "Same Love" written in support of same sex marriage.  Underground rapper Ben Maclemore tackles the dangers of hate and stereotypes by showing the struggle of a homosexual man from birth to death.  As Johnson listened to the song, she said she thought to herself this was something her students could learn from.

"This is one of the things in my school that we're trying to practice and we're trying to instill in our students is tolerance to diversity," she explained.

However, another student in class didn't agree with the lyrics, went to the office and complained.  Before the school day ended, Johnson claims the principal and assistant superintendent told her she was suspended indefinitely without pay.

"I don't think that it was really even thought through," she said.  "I was paralyzed.  I really didn't understand why I was being suspended."

Assistant Superintendent Melissa Baker didn't care to elaborate.

"No one is going to have a comment for you.  We don't go on camera here in South Lyon," she said.

"I'm very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry that I feel that they're really hiding behind," said Johnson.

During a closed door meeting, Johnson found out she would be suspended a total of three days, not paid for two.

Baker gave Johnson paperwork to explain why.  The district claims the song had controversial content -- homosexuality, religion, politics views and a sexual slur.  It also says she should have asked permission to play the song.

"I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there's a lot of bullying and there's a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are," Johnson said.

Johnson told us the ACLU and Affirmation, the LGBT support group, are both getting involved.  Johnson may be headed back to work on Thursday, but it seems this is far from over.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 'Spider-man' slugs cop in Times Square

    'Spider-man' slugs cop in Times Square

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:54:59 GMT
    New York City NewsNew York City News
    A man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested on charges he slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.
    A man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested on charges he slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.
  • Kayakers breach New York's JFK airport security

    Kayakers breach New York's JFK airport security

    Sunday, July 27 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-27 19:46:29 GMT
    The tower at John F. Kennedy International AirportThe tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport
    Two kayakers have been cited for trespassing after breaching a Kennedy Airport security perimeter.
    Two kayakers have been cited for trespassing after breaching a security perimeter at New York's Kennedy Airport.
  • Woman gets 20-year prison term for fatal stabbing

    Woman gets 20-year prison term for fatal stabbing

    Sunday, July 27 2014 2:32 PM EDT2014-07-27 18:32:05 GMT
    A southern New Jersey woman who fatally stabbed a man last year during an argument in his home has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison.
    A southern New Jersey woman who fatally stabbed a man last year during an argument in his home has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:48:38 GMT
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
  • Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:26:48 GMT
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
  • Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:57:45 GMT
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices