Culture

Gay Music Teacher Claims Discrimination After Revealing His Same-Sex Marriage to First Graders

Gay pride in Reykjavik, Iceland

On Valentine’s Day, a Chicago-area music teacher received flowers. When first grade students asked who sent them, he identified the sender as his husband. Some parents complained about their young children learning about same-sex marriage, but the teacher himself claimed discrimination from the school because administrators reportedly told him to “stick to the curriculum.”

“Ewww,”  students reportedly said when Nathan Etter, a first-year music teacher at Prairie View Grade School near Elgin, Ill., said the bouquet came from his husband. The 30-year-old Etter decided to used the interaction as a “teachable moment,” encouraging respect and tolerance and telling the young children that some families have “two moms” or “two dads.”

At least one parent contacted the school district with “serious concerns” about the teacher’s comment, prompting the principal to sit down with the teacher, the Chicago Tribune reported.

After this meeting, Etter and the teachers’ union complained to the school board. They claimed that “school leaders treated Mr. Etter in a discriminatory manner.” While there is no evidence such discrimination actually took place (and a statement from Central Unit School District 301 vehemently denied it), Etter arranged a protest for LGBT inclusion.

They used this effective mob to defend their claims of discrimination.

A “rally for equality” took place last Monday, supported by the statewide Illinois Education Association. Etter reported receiving letters of support and more than 30 bundles of flowers and gifts. About 100 students, parents, and union members gathered in the frigid weather outside before a school board meeting. Participants carried signs reading, “We support Mr. Etter,” and “Respect for All.”

Rebecca DiDomenico, who is married to a teacher in the district, thanked Etter for his “teaching moments.” DiDomenico insisted the music teacher was “doing his job” in teaching “social and emotional characteristics.” She told Etter point-blank, “We are behind you.”

Another parent insisted that school officials should have supported Etter when the parent complained, and should not have “humiliated” him.

The only clearly alleged “humiliation” involved administrators reportedly telling Etter to “stick to the curriculum,” instead of teaching cultural acceptance of homosexuality — to six-year-old children. Imagine if a Christian teacher had explained his beliefs that same-sex sexual activity were sinful or unnatural! The same protesters would have been chanting, “Stick to the curriculum!”

At the protest Monday, school board President Jeff Kellenberger told the crowd that “the district had no further concerns and considered the matter resolved. Mr. Etter’s employment … was never in jeopardy.”

“Discrimination, harassment, exclusion or intimidation in any form have no place in our schools and are not tolerated in District 301,” Kellenberger declared. “While we appreciate the support shown to Mr. Etter, he was not treated unjustly.

“There is nothing to protest here. We are with you,” the school board president added, though he conceded that district leaders “can always learn and improve.”

Superintendent Todd Stirn insisted that Etter is a “valued” teacher who has been asked back for next year.

Even so, the Chicago Tribune also quoted Eric Nolan, an openly gay graduate of the district, who insisted that he and his husband should be supported if anyone insulted them or bullied them for their homosexuality.

“Silence is not neutral,” Nolan declared.

Few words better declare the current cultural moment. A music teacher who attempted to normalize homosexuality among first graders is not only encouraged but championed. When told to stick to the curriculum, he claims discrimination — when any music teacher should have expected such a response when venturing into controversial issues.

Outside the meeting, Etter declared that he would continue using “teachable moments” to push LGBT normalization at school, no matter how young the students involved. “He does not fear losing his job but said he was disappointed that he did not receive an apology,” the Tribune reported.

Yes, the music teacher not only has the gall to proceed from explaining the origin of Valentine’s Day flowers to normalizing homosexuality among impressionable young students, but then proceeds to demand an apology after administrators reportedly told him to “stick to the curriculum,” a not unreasonable request that he interpreted as discrimination.

Being asked to stay on subject is not discrimination. By refusing even to reprimand the teacher, the school actually suggested it was glad he attempted to normalize homosexuality. In a time when Massachusetts is considering curriculum to teach “LGBT history, english, and health,” the real discrimination seems to fall against anyone supporting traditional sexual morality and wishing to bring up their children with socially conservative values.

Imagine the outcry if the situation were reversed, and yet Etter cries “discrimination” over something less than a reprimand. In the words of Eric Nolan, “Silence is not neutral.”