Mount Dora High School's Teacher of the Year has been suspended for remarks he made about gay marriage on his Facebook page. Jerry Buell, a long-time Lake County, Florida, social studies teacher, posted that he "almost threw up" when he found out that gay marriage had been legalized in New York State. He went on to say that gay unions were part of a "cesspool" (whatever the fuck that means) and that they are a "sin."
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Buell said, "It wasn't out of hatred. It was about the way I interpret things." Yes, it's about the HATEFUL way you interpret things.
School districts across Florida have recently issued guidelines on how teachers should use social media, reminding them that "private use of the internet and social networking is not private" and that employees should remain professional at all times.
Reportedly, Buell will be reassigned to an administrative position during his suspension. Personally, I think they should fire the homophobe, especially considering that gay teens are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers are. Perhaps Mr Buell should've considered that particular social study before making his comments.
Although I wish more could be done, I'm glad that the local school board isn't letting this slip through its fingers and is taking some kind of action. In a conservative Southern state, it's quite progressive to protect the rights of gay students. Change! Slow and arduous, but still change.