The unnamed social studies teacher is employed at West Alexander Middle School in Taylorsville, North Carolina. According to reports, he played the video “Same Love” by Mackelmore and Lewis for eighth graders at the chagrin of school officials.
The music video, which won the 2013 MTV award for “Best Music Video with a Message” and remains in the top 40 songs played on hit radio stations, features two homosexual men who kiss, become engaged and get married.
“The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion,” the lyrics to the song state. “Man-made rewiring of a predisposition/Playing God, aw nah, here we go/America the brave still fears what we don’t know/And God loves all His children, is somehow forgotten/But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago.”
Superintendent Jeff Peal told the Taylorsville Times that it was “inappropriate” for the teacher to show the video to the students.
“At West Alexander Middle School, there was an inappropriate video shown in class, outside the bounds of the curriculum that called for disciplinary action last week,” he said.
School board attorney Joel Harbinson explained further to CNN, advising that officials believed the video was unfitting for a middle school classroom.
“The issue in this matter was one of whether the video was curriculum-based, educationally-related, and age-appropriate for a class of prepubescent 13-year-olds,” he said.
Reaction to the suspension has been mixed.
“I am a practicing Christian and teach the high school youth in my Baptist church in Hickory, NC,” wrote one commenter. “What some parents in rural, white, Alexander County, NC teach their children is to hate others for any variety of reasons–skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I am glad there are teachers willing to present opposing views! … If you teach your children to hate anyone by using passages from the Bible, please do the rest of us a favor and do not call yourself a Christian.”
“This video is offensive to Christians and should be,” stated another. “Homosexuality in God’s words is a sin. … Causing the little ones to sin is really really bad. What did Jesus say about that? Something about a millstone around the neck?”
“I can love people predisposed to same sex [temptations] and not accept homosexuality,” he continued. “Most people sin, i.e., lie, steal or cheat on their taxes and all kinds of other stuff. We don’t turn these actions into virtuous behavior because we want them to be equal. … I just won’t believe that it’s not a sin and I don’t want that promoted to my child either. God is not a liar.”
The teacher was suspended for three days and has since returned to class.