Tell Beaverton School District: Student Teachers Shouldn't Be Fired Over Sexual Orientation
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who signed this petition! After more than 5,000 emails, the Beaverton School District announced that they made a mistake in removing Stambaugh from the classroom, and have worked with administrators at Lewis & Clark College to place him back inside the classroom. Thanks to all who took action! For more information, check out this piece.
A gay student teacher in Oregon was removed from the classroom by the Beaverton School District because he told a student that it was illegal for same-sex couples to get married in the state.
According to this article from The Portland Mercury, Seth Stambaugh was asked by one of his students whether he'd get married someday. Stambaugh responded that it was illlegal for him to get married, because same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Oregon. When the student followed up by asking if that meant Stambaugh liked hanging out with men, Stambaugh responded yes.
After this conversation, a parent caught wind of the story and reported it to school officials. Afterwards, school officials approached Stambaugh, as well as his college (Lewis and Clark), and told him that he'd have to seek a student teaching placement elsewhere. His conversation, according to the Beaverton School District, was "inappropriate."
Is this the culture that Beaverton officials want to integrate into their schools? Where a teacher can be removed from the classroom solely for owning up to their identity, and being honest with a student?
Send the Beaverton School District a message that they were way out of bounds here, and shouldn't be disciplining student teachers on the basis of their sexual orientation. It's unprofessional, wrong, and a detriment to the culture of integrity that school districts should be looking to foster for their students.
This is a travesty. The student teacher, a college student at Lewis and Clark University, has as his primary commitment a duty to educate and be honest with students. Yet, your school district has said he acted inappropriately by answering a student's question about whether or not he'd get married someday. His answer? No, because it's illegal for a man to marry a man in the state of Oregon.
That's hardly an inappropriate answer, yet your school district punished this student teacher by removing him from the classroom. What kind of message does that send to students in your school district? That teachers should lie about who they are to their students? That teachers shouldn't recognize laws about same-sex marriage in school?
That hardly breeds a culture of integrity and honesty. It saddens me to learn that your school district removed a well qualified teacher from the classroom, solely because of his sexual orientation. This doesn't send a very good message about the priorities of leaders in your school district.
Thank you for your time.