Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hitting Close to a New Home

Thank you Feministing for getting me more involved in my community. Now that I am in Oklahoma, one of the things I have been having to face is more people that are either unaware of different sexualities or unwilling to confront difference in its various forms.

One of the latest blog posts asks for readers to perform a simple favor -- to email the superintendent of an Oklahoma county about a former teacher, Debra Taylor. Taylor was suspended and put on paid leave when the county asked for her resignation, which the school board approved. Here's the rub. Taylor was reprimanded for teaching students about The Laramie Project.

Here's more from the feministing post:
"This is outrageous. What's funny is that the district is saying that Taylor wasn't forced to resign because of the play. Attorney John Moyer (representing the district) says, "If someone is saying that adverse employment action is being taken against Ms. Taylor because of homosexuality, they're wrong." So why don't you shed light on exactly why Taylor was suspended the day after she held the mock funeral based on the play? William Smith, SIECUS Vice President says: "What happens when the next teacher tries to talk about intolerance and hatred and murdering people for that, and they get harassed and forced to resign? This is bigger than just what's happening to Debra Taylor. It's about the perpetuation of hatred and injustice in our society. The same sort of hatred and discrimination that led to Shepard's death leads to this teacher's firing. We can't allow that to stand."

SIECUS is asking all interested parties to email Superintendent Turlington (eturlington@grandfield.k12.ok.us) the following email if you so desire.

"Debra Taylor did not deserve this kind of treatment. Young people need dedicated teachers willing to confront issues of respect and acceptance for people of all sexual orientations. She should be commended for creating a safe space for all her students and should be reinstated immediately."

I have already sent it from my three email addresses. I hope you can spare some time to at least send it from one! Spread knowledge and understanding!


SJE said...

Thanks for sending that along. I have already e-mailed Super. Turlington and forwarded your rally to outside friends. Let me know what else I can do.

Laminated Fragments said...

Thanks. That's so awesome of you.

Reves said...

Terrible. My mom teaches high school English, and I'd be horrified if something like this happened to her. I just emailed Turlington a personal note, explaining that even in Texas, we're concerned.