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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:35 PM
Original message
Bisexual teacher sues former school district
http://www.sacbee.com/state_wire/story/13737509p-145794...

A bisexual fifth-grade teacher has sued his former school district claiming that administrators harassed him and forced him to quit.
Emmit Hancock, a former teacher at Willow Oaks Elementary School in Menlo Park, sued the Ravenswood City School District last week, seeking unspecified monetary damages.



In his Oct. 13 filing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, the 27-year-old teacher said the harassment started after he told his students about his sexuality.

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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. Okay, I'm stepping into my flame suit
but I don't think talking about my sexuality (I am a teacher) is appropriate with fifth graders. High school maybe. Just maybe.

To me, THAT is the problem. Not the bisexuality. I know a number of gay teachers and bi, too... and they have had no problems with harassment. But they don't discuss sex and sexuality with ten year olds.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I agree with you completely.
No heterosexual teacher who talked about his sexuality to 11 year old students should or would remain employed either.
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kevinbgoode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I agree. . .
We can't have some double standard there with heterosexual teachers talking about their "husband" and "wife" and then fire someone else for not fitting into that niche.

This is the same principle as the wingnuts screaming about a book with a variety of families depicted, but they rage about the single representation of a same-sex couple, even though animals are also depicted as families. If they want to read sex into the gay couple's lives, they should be reading the same thing into a straight couple depiction and showing equal concern for any reference to a sexual relatonship.
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
21. I don't recall ever hearing...
...from ANY teacher I had, anything at all about their spouses or their sexuality.

Not. One. Word.

That's as it should be, I think.
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I thought the same thing
but the guy says in the article that it came up and then he tried to change the subject

"They wanted to know why, why do I love somebody of the same gender?" Hancock said. "I tried to change the subject as quickly as possible."

one of the kids probably went home and said that Mr. Hancock is a homo and the parents hit the roof



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tatertop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Somehow I get the feeling that ain't the way it happened

What kind of teacher "tries" to change the subject
with fifth-graders?
Is he on the same level as his students?
Are they equals? Is he saying those wile ten and eleven-year-olds ganged up and tricked him into saying things he didn't mean to say. Hard to believe that's the way it went down.
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. a teacher that wants to save his job
kids at that age are very persistant and want to know everything there is to know

most of the information that these kids get about gays comes from television and their friends and families and I'll bet most of that information is negative

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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Well if that is what happened...
thats a bit different.
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tatertop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. Fifth-grade teachers need to keep their sex lives to themselves
It's one thing to correct homophobic slurs.
It's another thing to discuss one's personal sexuality
in front of the classroom.
I predict he loses this lawsuit.
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Psychmd Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Double standards
I doubt this teacher talked to his students about the sex acts he prefers. Is it wrong for a heterosexual teacher to acknowledge that he or she has a wife/girlfriend/husband or boyfriend? How about public displays of wedding rings and all that they imply. How about the young female teacher gushing about her engagement/upcoming wedding. To me this is a double standard.
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tatertop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I want none of that in the classroom
None. Keep it to yourself.
Professionalism is a wonderful thing.
I taught for fifteen years.
My students knew nothing of my personal life.
I taught - they learned. Worked out great.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. I didn't WANT to know about my teacher's personal life
In my entire life as a student, I can count only a few times when I learned ANYthing personal about my teachers. And usually that was gossip from other students rather than an overt statement from the teacher. For instance, one woman's recent marriage was hard to conceal because of the sudden appearance of a ring on her finger.

Looking back over the years, though, I can't recall a single instance of a teacher making reference to husband, wife, daughter. It simply wasn't an appropriate comment to make in the context of a clasroom.

And that's as it should be at grade schools levels. And even at university, it was a rare occurrence and usually made by professors who skirted the teacher/student boundary a little too closely. That was a warning sign, for any student savvy enough to notice.

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I find that very hard to believe
I am currently a teacher and have subbed for quite a few years, and I have to say that most teachers have some personal pictures of family and or children on their desks. Additionally often women teachers work as while pregnant which leads to some reasonable assumptions as to personal life.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Pregnant teachers?
You may see them now, but you did NOT see them when I was in school (30-40 years ago). It just wasn't done, at least not in my school system.

As for personal effects, not those either. Most teacher's desks were quite spare. And I would have noticed, because I was one of those rare students who actually like sitting up front.
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GymDude Donating Member (29 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
6. He talked about sex?!?
I thought he just said he was gay (or bisexual).

By your logic, a straight teacher can be justifiably forced out of their job for mentioning their spouse or children (or saying "I am straight", or "I have a boyfriend").

I am sick of these double standards, and how what wouldn't raise an eyebrow when the parties are straight, is all "sex" and "sexual" when the parties are gay.

I am sick of being told that it is "inappropriate" for me to just hold my boyfriend's hand when there are children present, even when straight people are practically making out all around.
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Psychmd Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Welcome
From a relatively new poster to another
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kweerwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. "even when straight people are practically making out all around"
Eeeewwww! I gotta get that image out of my mind!

I have nothing against straight people as long as they at least act gay in public!

(Ummmm ... knowing how "touchy" DU has been the past few days, I'm compelled to point out to the humor-challenged that the above is a joke.)

And welcome to DU, GymDude and Psychmd! :hi:
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Psychmd Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Thanks for the welcome to DU
Read your profile....love your quote from Geisel....it pretty much states my philosophy in life
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Welcome Newbies! You know, I have a nine-year-old daughter,
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 09:16 PM by Maat
and she deals with the whole 'couples' thing very well. Of course, she comes to certain PFLAG meetings with me.

I've always told her that couples spent special time with each other, have special adult ways of dealing with each other, and that we didn't need to go down that road any further. We just needed to celebrate that two people were committed, kind and special to each other. Worked well.

I don't think she would have minded hearing about his partner at all; in fact, she probably would have shut the other kids up if they got out of line, verbally of course.

I don't mind her hearing about someone having a spouse/partner/fiance/significant-other at all.

I've read books with her about diverse families.

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Siyahamba Donating Member (890 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Yeah, gay teachers have to refer to their partner as "they"
Apparently sounding like a polygamist is better than being gay.

I'm tired of the double standard. Heterosexual teachers can talk about their significant others and have their pictures on their desks, but a gay teacher happens to say "I went to the movies with my boyfriend" when he's asked by a student what he did over the weekend and he's flaunting his lifestyle.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
17. Whatever happened to Mr. Forster
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 10:25 AM by mzteris
was a favorite book of my daughter's when she was in middle school.

She took it to school and asked that it be considered for the class read (they still did a "read aloud"/group discussion thing). The teacher confiscated the book. (I had to pick it up from the office.)

The teacher - not that day but soon thereafter - managed to work the fact that "all homosexuals are going to hell" into her daily lesson. :(

I wrote her a letter (I still have the draft). I should have complained to the Principle/school board - but this was back in the early 90's.



edit to correct spelling and add link to book:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0395310210/102-0496852...
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
19. This is why I want to see ENDA pass so badly
This isn't uncommon sadly. Many gays stay in the closet at work for precisely this reason.
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