Mike Dunford has drawn my attention to a situation in Piasa, Illinois where high school English teacher Dan DeLong assigned extra-credit reading about gay animals. The situation seems to be a bit complicated. The assigned article discusses how homosexuality is common in the animal kingdom. DeLong has been suspended from his job and faces a disciplinary hearing.
If a teacher simply assigned reading from areas of study outside the teacher's area that would be a legitimate concern. However, it appears that the assignment was to read the essay and examine the essay's structure and argumentative form. Therefore, this is simply a normal high school assignment. Teachers assign all sorts of different reading about different subjects. That's part of the normal school curriculum. One might be able to describe a problem if one had evidence that DeLong had assigned the essay to make some sort of political, moral, theological or other point. However, I haven't seen any claim that that was the case. The objection simply seems to be that some parents were uncomfortable with the reading.
Unless the school had some sort of blanket policy about the teaching sexual material requiring parental permission I don't see anything that DeLong has done. While news reports are still sparse with details it seems like this is more about fear of gays and homosexuality extended to such a point that even discussing gay sex in animals triggers a backlash. That's stupid. There's simply no other way to describe it. DeLong should be restored to his position as soon as possible.
Update: DeLong has been reinstated.
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