District explains why teacher that played 'gay' song suspended - Fox 2 News Headlines

South Lyon district explains why teacher that played 'gay' song suspended

Posted: Updated:

By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


SOUTH LYON, Mich. (WJBK) -- A South Lyon teacher was back to work Thursday after being suspended for playing a so-called "gay" song in front of her class.  We got comments from parents and school officials.

It's called "Same Love", the song her student asked her to play in class, but Susan Johnson believes it's the lyrics that led to her suspension from Centennial Middle School in South Lyon last week.

"I'm very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry, that I feel that they're really hiding behind," she told us on Wednesday.

Johnson agreed to play the song that tackles the dangers of hate and negative stereotypes by showing the struggle of a homosexual man from birth to death.  She said she wanted to use it as a learning tool in her eighth grade performing arts class.  A student complained and the next thing she knew, Johnson was placed on unpaid administrative leave while the district investigated.

"I thought it could be the basis for a good conversation," said parent Kim White.

Parents didn't know about the district's decision until they saw our story Wednesday night.  Some feel a suspension was too harsh.

"I thought that the song, it was nice, but maybe she should have talked to the principal and assistant principal first about it," said Danelle Demucha.

The South Lyon School District released a statement explaining why the teacher was suspended.  Basical she didn't follow the proper protocol, filling out the forms, asking permission or previewing the clip beforehand.  It's something this teacher claims she never had to do before, and she claims she even asked the principal if she would be allowed to play the song if she did all of that and he said he still found the song was inappropriate.

Documented in the paperwork the teacher was given, the district also pointed to controversial content -- homosexuality, religion, political views and a sexual slur.

"It's important to support educators and we continue to work with educators on creating safe spaces," said Jesse Fullenkamp with the Ruth Ellis Center.

The organization, which is based in Highland Park and provides services for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth, is disappointed in the district's decision, but not surprised.  It's why it offers a program where they go into schools and train administrators and faculty on LGBT awareness.

"Regardless of whether or not they're LGBT students in a space, if we're not creating environment that's tolerant that's a huge problem," Fullenkamp said.

Johnson is back to school, but the fight is far from over.  The ACLU is now involved and a graduate of South Lyon helped create a Facebook page in support.  They're working to raise money to pay Johnson for the days the district did not.

"It's trying to help South Lyon to understand the diversity of everything here.  I mean it's a 99 percent white population here and people aren't open to new things," said Alex Cristen.

"I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them," Johnson said.

  • Taryn AsherTaryn AsherMore>>

  • Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:20:50 GMT
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
  • Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:29:16 GMT
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  

  • 1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:30:13 GMT
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • LIVE STREAM: Trench collapse in Pittsfield Township

    LIVE STREAM: Trench collapse in Pittsfield Township

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:44:25 GMT
    Emergency crews are at the scene of an apparent trench collapse in Pittsfield Township.
    Emergency crews are at the scene of an apparent trench collapse in Pittsfield Township.
  • Michigan man mocked on Instagram by Shaquille O'Neal, celebrities files lawsuit

    Michigan man mocked on Instagram by Shaquille O'Neal, celebrities files lawsuit

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:39 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:39:08 GMT
    Jahmel Binion filed a lawsuit in Macomb County court today.Jahmel Binion filed a lawsuit in Macomb County court today.
    They said they were sorry -- but it's not enough.The local man -- who was mocked for his appearance on Instagram by Shaquille O'Neal and other celebrities is now suing. Jahmel Binion filed a lawsuit in a Macomb County court today.Binion claims that O'Neal, NBA player Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame caused him emotional distress when they made fun of him on social media earlier this year.Binion was born with a rare genetic condition that affects his physical appearance.The lawsuit also...
    They said they were sorry -- but it's not enough.The local man -- who was mocked for his appearance on Instagram by Shaquille O'Neal and other celebrities is now suing. Jahmel Binion filed a lawsuit in a Macomb County court today.Binion claims that O'Neal, NBA player Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame caused him emotional distress when they made fun of him on social media earlier this year.Binion was born with a rare genetic condition that affects his physical appearance.The lawsuit also...
  • More than 600 file lawsuit against GM over ignition switches

    More than 600 file lawsuit against GM over ignition switches

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:04 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:04:48 GMT
    Another legal bump in the road for General Motors. Now, a lawsuit has been filed by more than 600 people. They say they had GM cars recalled for faulty ignition switches and suffered injures, or are related to someone who died in a crash. They filed the lawsuit because they say they are not covered in the victims compensation program. Their problems came apparently after the bankruptcy. the law suit was filed in New York.The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court names 29 people who wer...
    Another legal bump in the road for General Motors. Now, a lawsuit has been filed by more than 600 people. They say they had GM cars recalled for faulty ignition switches and suffered injures, or are related to someone who died in a crash. They filed the lawsuit because they say they are not covered in the victims compensation program. Their problems came apparently after the bankruptcy. the law suit was filed in New York.The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court names 29 people who wer...
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices