By: Shannon Ralph
A Florida teacher has been suspended over comments he made on July 25th on his Facebook page in regards to gay marriage. Jerry Buell, a social studies teacher at Mount Dora High School, wrote that he “almost threw up” when New York legalized gay marriage. He also wrote that gay marriages were a “cesspool” and a “sin”. Though the comments were made from his home computer, Buell was suspended from Lake County school district under a new social media policy for teaching staff.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Buell said: “It wasn’t out of hatred. It was about the way I interpret things.” He added: “I’ve had kids that I’ve known that have been homosexuals. They know that I don’t hate them. I love them.”
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I am tired of hearing how these anti-gay bigots “love the sinner and hate the sin.” What a load of hypocritical, self-righteous crap! First and foremost, he is a teacher, for goodness’ sake! He is responsible for the learning and general well-being of the children placed in his care —some of them gay themselves, no doubt— at a crucial developmental period in their lives. It is hard enough being a gay kid in high school these days. These kids need the support of their teachers —adults in their lives who I would assume joined the teaching profession in the interest of the children. (It certainly wasn’t for the rock star pay!) Mr. Buell’s comments were nothing short of disrespectful, crude, and hateful.
Secondly, Facebook is a public forum. When you put something out on the Internet, it is there for good. It is there for the world to see. Did he honestly expect that no one at his place of employment would see his hateful comments? If so, he is certainly not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. And if not —if he didn’t care who read his comments— then he has no right molding our future generations. He has no right to be a teacher. Our students, both gay and straight, deserve better than this.