The South Lyon Community School
District is defending its decision to suspend a teacher for allowing
a student to play a gay-supportive song in her classroom.
Susan Johnson allowed a student in her
performing arts class to play Seattle-based rapper Macklemore's
single Same Love from the upcoming album The Heist.
The song, which features singer Mary Lambert, follows the life of a
gay man and the life he built with his partner.
Johnson said she asked the student
whether the song included profanity or violence before allowing him
to play it for the class.
Johnson received a three-day
suspension, two of which will not be paid.
According to The
Detroit News, the district stood by its decision in a
statement released Friday.
“The district has an established
practice, included in the staff handbook, that requires the
instructor to first preview any taped material to be used in the
classroom, including YouTube clips, then submit a completed form
about the proposed clip to a building administrator for approval,”
the district said.
“To ensure that the proposed material
supports the curriculum for the class, the form requires the
instructor to provide a brief description of the clip and how it
relates to the lesson plan.
“Further, the instructor is to
identify the curriculum benchmarks that students will complete as a
result of watching the clip. The employee neither previewed the
YouTube clip, nor submitted the form for approval as required.
Instead, a student gave the clip to the employee at the beginning of
class and the employee showed the clip to the class. The clip had no
relationship whatsoever to the instructional class content planned
for that day. The purpose of this established practice is to ensure
that instructional materials are appropriate for the course and its
students. It is because we care about all students that we have this
procedure in place.”
Macklemore responded to the incident in
a statement: “This level of intolerance and fear is still very
active in America, but at times is not completely visible.”
Same Love, he
added, was “written with the hope that it would facilitate
dialogue and through those conversations understanding and empathy
would emerge. This incident demonstrates how too often we are quick
to silence conversations that must be had.”
Macklemore releases video for gay marriage anthem Same Love.)