A middle school performing arts teacher in the far reaches of suburban Detroit has been suspended without pay for playing a song about being gay during class, Fox News reports.
The song, entitled Same Love, by rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, praises same-sex marriage and details the trials and tribulations frequently associated with homosexuality.
The teacher, Susan Johnson, reportedly played the song at the request of one of her eighth-grade students at Centennial Middle School in South Lyon.
“I asked him a few questions about the song. If it was violent, if there was any profanity, and he said no,” Johnson told MyFoxDetroit.com.
Johnson listened to the lyrics, and agreed that students would benefit from hearing them. She told the station that she thought to herself this was something eighth graders could learn from.
Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
Some students in Johnson’s class did not appreciate the song’s subject matter. They reported the incident to school officials, according to MyFoxDetroit. The school officials then swiftly informed Johnson that she was suspended indefinitely without pay.
Johnson was reportedly shocked.
“I don’t think that it was really even thought through,” she told the station. “I really didn’t understand why I was being suspended.”
She said that tolerance of diversity is something she works hard to instill into her junior high school charges.
“There’s a lot of bullying, and there’s a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country, and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are,” Johnson said, according to Fox Detroit.
Ultimately, Johnson was suspended for a grand total of three days. She was paid for one of those days.
Assistant superintendent Melissa Baker allegedly told Johnson in a private meeting that the disciplinary measures were necessary because of the song’s controversial content concerning sexual orientation, religion, politics and at least one sexual slur, MyFoxDetroit says.
In light of the subject matter, Baker told Johnson she should have sought permission to play the song in class.
Johnson’s suspension is reportedly over, but the matter might not be completely resolved. The American Civil Liberties Union, among other groups, could soon become involved.