District explains why teacher that played 'gay' song suspended - New York News

South Lyon district explains why teacher that played 'gay' song suspended

Posted: Updated:

By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


SOUTH LYON, Mich. (WJBK) -- A South Lyon teacher was back to work Thursday after being suspended for playing a so-called "gay" song in front of her class.  We got comments from parents and school officials.

It's called "Same Love", the song her student asked her to play in class, but Susan Johnson believes it's the lyrics that led to her suspension from Centennial Middle School in South Lyon last week.

"I'm very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry, that I feel that they're really hiding behind," she told us on Wednesday.

Johnson agreed to play the song that tackles the dangers of hate and negative stereotypes by showing the struggle of a homosexual man from birth to death.  She said she wanted to use it as a learning tool in her eighth grade performing arts class.  A student complained and the next thing she knew, Johnson was placed on unpaid administrative leave while the district investigated.

"I thought it could be the basis for a good conversation," said parent Kim White.

Parents didn't know about the district's decision until they saw our story Wednesday night.  Some feel a suspension was too harsh.

"I thought that the song, it was nice, but maybe she should have talked to the principal and assistant principal first about it," said Danelle Demucha.

The South Lyon School District released a statement explaining why the teacher was suspended.  Basical she didn't follow the proper protocol, filling out the forms, asking permission or previewing the clip beforehand.  It's something this teacher claims she never had to do before, and she claims she even asked the principal if she would be allowed to play the song if she did all of that and he said he still found the song was inappropriate.

Documented in the paperwork the teacher was given, the district also pointed to controversial content -- homosexuality, religion, political views and a sexual slur.

"It's important to support educators and we continue to work with educators on creating safe spaces," said Jesse Fullenkamp with the Ruth Ellis Center.

The organization, which is based in Highland Park and provides services for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth, is disappointed in the district's decision, but not surprised.  It's why it offers a program where they go into schools and train administrators and faculty on LGBT awareness.

"Regardless of whether or not they're LGBT students in a space, if we're not creating environment that's tolerant that's a huge problem," Fullenkamp said.

Johnson is back to school, but the fight is far from over.  The ACLU is now involved and a graduate of South Lyon helped create a Facebook page in support.  They're working to raise money to pay Johnson for the days the district did not.

"It's trying to help South Lyon to understand the diversity of everything here.  I mean it's a 99 percent white population here and people aren't open to new things," said Alex Cristen.

"I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them," Johnson said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    Friday, August 29 2014 1:24 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:24:19 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi. Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head, investigators said.
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi. Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head, investigators said.
  • Victim's family feels sorry for girl who shot him

    Victim's family feels sorry for girl who shot him

    Friday, August 29 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:19:45 GMT
    The ex-wife of an Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old girl learning to use an Uzi said Friday that her family plans to write the child a letter to comfort her.  Instructor Charles Vacca was standing next to the girl on Monday at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger.
    The ex-wife of an Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old girl learning to use an Uzi said Friday that her family plans to write the child a letter to comfort her.  Instructor Charles Vacca was standing next to the girl on Monday at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger.
  • NYC Denny's features $300 breakfast

    NYC Denny's features $300 breakfast

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-29 12:47:22 GMT
    Diner chain Denny's is opening it's first New York City location, complete with a big-city "deal".   How does a $300 breakfast sound?    The Denny's is located at the corner of Nassau and Spruce in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.  Along with its normal food you can get at just about any location in the rest of the country, this location will offer a Grand Slam breakfast with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon champagne.
    Diner chain Denny's is opening it's first New York City location, complete with a big-city "deal".   How does a $300 breakfast sound?    The Denny's is located at the corner of Nassau and Spruce in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.  Along with its normal food you can get at just about any location in the rest of the country, this location will offer a Grand Slam breakfast with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon champagne.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:44:11 GMT
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
  • All You Need to Know: Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair

    All You Need to Know: Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:56 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:56:12 GMT
    The Michigan State Fair is kicking off in Novi with carnival rides, circus shows and farm animals. Located off Grand River, the fair opens Friday Aug. 29 to Labor Day Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    The Michigan State Fair is kicking off in Novi with carnival rides, circus shows and farm animals. Located off Grand River, the fair opens Friday Aug. 29 to Labor Day Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Detroit police believe three shootings gang-related

    Detroit police believe three shootings gang-related

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 12:15:04 GMT
    In total there has been three shootings within 12 hours and two miles of each other - and police believe there is a connection.
    In total there has been three shootings within 12 hours and two miles of each other - and police believe there is a connection.
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 | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices