Jerry Buell, a long-time Lake County social studies teacher, said during a recent Facebook exchange that he “almost threw up” in response to a news story about legalized same-sex marriage in New York.
On the same July 25 Facebook post he said same-sex marriages were part of a “cesspool.” He went on to call the unions a sin.
An LA Times opinion staffer thinks the man shouldn’t be punished by his employer.
I think the Times is far too flippant when it suggests that maybe some gay students might be uncomfortable, but hey, kids are used to teachers having a different point of view:
It could be argued that Buell’s comments might make gay and lesbian students uncomfortable in his class. In truth, high school students know quite well that many of their teachers are likely to hold radically different opinions from theirs.
Really? Black kids are used to having teachers who throw up when they think of a white person marrying someone black? I don’t think so. I think that teacher would be fired if they said black people made them viscerally sick to their stomach. Same thing if the teacher said it about Christians. The man’s views on civil rights – especially such visceral, ugly views – are not the kind of thing kids are used to knowing about their teachers. The differences kids usually have with their teachers are based on clothing tastes and how you interpret a poem.
You could argue that kids must, at some point, have teachers who are racists, or bigots, simply because of the odds. And that’s probably true. But if the teachers don’t make their views known, and treat all the kids equally, then it’s the old “tree falling in the forest” cliché. I’m not thrilled with people being secret bigots, but if they keep their views to themselves, and no one knows they’re bigots, then it’s hard to point to societal repercussions.
But when a teacher says a certain class of his own students make him want to throw up, I’m sorry, but I’d be freaked to sit in that guy’s class. And there’s no way in hell I’d let me kid, had I one, sit in that classroom, whether the teacher’s bile was directed at gays, blacks, Jews or anyone else. I wouldn’t want my kids near that guy.