SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A substitute teacher berated a Utah fifth grader after he said during a pre-Thanksgiving lesson that he was thankful heâ€™s finally going to be adopted by his two dads, the parents said.
The boyâ€™s classmates said the teacher told him, â€œthatâ€™s nothing to be thankful forâ€ and lectured the 30 kids in the class about her views on homosexuality. She said that â€œtwo men living together is a sinâ€ and â€œhomosexuality is wrong.â€
Three girls asked the teacher to stop and eventually walked out of the room to get the principal, and the substitute was escorted from the building, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
One of the dads, Louis van Amstel, said he appreciates the three girls stepping up and the schoolâ€™s quick response. But he wonders how the substitute got in a classroom in the first place and wants to make sure she never comes back again – at the boyâ€™s school or anywhere in Utah.
â€œItâ€™s absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did,â€ van Amstel said. â€œWe were livid. Itâ€™s 2019 and this is a public school.â€
The boy told his dads that he understood what the substitute was saying, but said he didnâ€™t speak up because heâ€™s had two failed adoptions before and didnâ€™t want his dads to rethink their decision, with his final court hearing coming up on Dec. 19.
â€œThis situation really hurt him. This person really hurt us,â€ said van Amstel, a former dancer on â€œDancing with the Stars.â€
The incident happened last month at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, south of Salt Lake City. A spokesman for Alpine School District, David Stephenson, said he couldnâ€™t speak in detail about a personnel issue but â€œappropriate action has been taken.â€ He also praised the girls who spoke up for their classmate.
â€œFellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support,â€ Stephenson said. â€œItâ€™s awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward.â€
The district contracts with the staffing company Kelly Services to hire substitutes.
â€œWe are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously,â€ Kelly Services said in a statement. â€œWe conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. Weâ€™re looking into this situation.â€
A few days after the incident, the familyâ€™s neighbors decorated their house with paper hearts that said, â€œWe love youâ€ and â€œWe support you.â€
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com