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A Gay Dad Sounds Off About The Kansas Teacher Who Is Getting Fired For Fighting Homophobia

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Tom Leahy, a teacher in Kansas, is being forced to resign over actions he took to stop homophobic bullying in his school. Here is his story, and what you can do about it.

Tom Leahy, who teaches social studies at the Conway Springs Middle School in Kansas admits he made some mistakes. He showed teens a film depicting suicide. He showed teens a film that specifically called out the Catholic Church for criticism. He did not give them warning, a chance to opt out, and he did not have their parents’ permission to show the film.

He made some mistakes because he was deeply disturbed by the bullying and homophobic culture he saw evidenced by his eighth graders. As he sought to drive home the point, he cut some corners, which have now landed him in trouble.

Here is why he was so stressed to impact the point of view of his kids: a recent social studies exercise had gone horrifically wrong. He had split the students into groups and told them that they were each a fictional colony. They were to develop their own Bill of Rights, and lay out the principles on which to build their societies. He expected kindness and fairness.

What he got was homophobia. At least one of the colonies declared it would ostracize LGBT people and reject them from their world. Leahy saw some deep, hurt reactions from other students, and that motivated him to want to change attitudes immediately.

So he showed them “Love Is All You Need,” the viral video film by Kim Rocco Shields, in which the world is reversed and it is heterosexuals who are the bullied and persecuted. The film is no holds barred in its depiction of the damage of bullying.

“I didn’t want just a dorky little film, I wanted something that was important, something that was serious. So that’s the one I came up with. I’m not saying what I did was very smart. It really wasn’t, but I’m a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy, and it seemed right at the time,” Leahy told the Witchita Eagle.

Now Leahy has been removed from the classroom, and awaits a school board meeting on November 9, when he will be asked to offer his resignation. They are expected to take it. 

Here is my letter to him, and to the board, hoping those events don’t take place:

Dear Mr. Leahy and members of the Conway Springs School Board,

Mr. Leahy, you must not resign. Dear board members, you must not allow him to do so. Whatever problem you think you are fixing by taking this action is miniscule compared to the problem you are creating.

You are letting the bullies win.

No, I am not calling parents, who want to approve of graphic material before it is shown to their kids, “bullies.” They are due an apology, and a promise that such action will not take place again.

They were not the bullies that Mr. Leahy was fighting, however. He was going up against the principles of judgment, intolerance, ostracism and degradation. He was addressing a disease that is evidenced in your population of kids. While his choices were not well thought out, the harm he was seeking to prevent should be a much higher priority.

I am the gay dad of two seventh graders. The colony exercise that took place, in which a mob had declared they would reject their dad from the world, would have devastated and shamed them. They would have suffered in silence, but the harm would go deep.

So too, was the harm felt by a number of your LGBT students. They, in various stages of self awareness, are also likely hidden from you. That does not mean you are free to cease protecting them, it means you have even a greater responsibility to do so.

I am sure you found that the suicide of the lead character, in the film Mr. Leahy showed, disturbing. What is more disturbing is that the spirit of who she represents IS real, and in your population. She is my kid. She is the LGBT kid. She is every child that does not fit the mob mentality “norm.” By your inaction, and condemning of Mr. Leahy for his attempts to reach these kids and defend them, you are signaling for them to listen to their darker instincts. You are inspiring them to hide, to self-harm and even kill themselves.

Did you ask parental permission to do THAT?

Mr. Leahy, I don’t know what pressure you are under to resign, but you must resist it. What you did in showing the film at risk to yourself was heroic.

Your job is incomplete however. Your community has diverted the topic from homophobia to parental notification procedures. You need to right that course, the conversations need to be had, and rectification measures need to be taken. The real lesson still needs to be learned.

If not, the film you showed will not be just a conversation starter, it will be a prophesy. Your sacrifice will have been for nothing.

 

Sign the petition here.  Conway School District contacts are here.

You can watch the film here:

 

Image by Rob Watson via CIMIC Centre of Excellence/Flickr and a CC license, and Lexi DiBenedetto/YouTube

 

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WHY DOES TUCKER CARLSON HATE AMERICAN FAMILIES?

Pete Buttigieg Brilliantly Destroys Tucker Carlson After Fox Host’s Homophobic Hit Job

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg responded to Fox News host Tucker Carlson‘s vile, homophobic attack from Thursday night, by defending the right of every new parent to take paternity or maternity leave and spend time building bonds that will last a lifetime.

Buttigieg, known for being able to incisively carve up conservative hate, had no problem correcting Carlson’s claims.

Carlson, who regularly spreads white nationalistic, white supremacist, and fascistic rhetoric that clearly is supported by Fox News chiefs Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, on Thursday berated Buttigieg for taking paternity leave as he and his husband, Chasten welcome two newborn twins into their family.

“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child,” Carlson had told Fox news viewers. “Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed – no word on how that went.”

Buttigieg struck back on Friday, telling MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace Carlson’s “attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk.”

Related: Tucker Carlson and Naomi Wolf Blasted for Claiming No One ‘Moralized’ Against HIV/AIDS Patients in the ’80s

Carlson, in his college yearbook, reportedly wrote that he was a member of the “Dan White Society.” There is no Dan White Society, but Dan White is the man who assassinated Harvey Milk, one of America’s first openly-gay elected officials. At the same time, in 1978, he also assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.

“So, you know, obviously we know that there’s some dark places where some of these attitudes come from,” Buttigieg continued.

“But I also note that that doesn’t speak for the country,” he said of Carlson’s homophobic and anti-family remark.

“I don’t think that even speaks for most people, on the other side of the aisle from the party that I belong to. This is largely a consensus issue, not just the support for families like mine to have a right to marry and right to be treated equally, but also that families in general. Moms and dads have to be able to support their children including with paid leave.”

Buttigieg, as NCRM reported Thursday night, is correct: 86% of Americans support paid paternity leave. And seven out of 10 Americans support same-sex marriage.  Sadly, U.S. federal law does not require companies to offer it, but as Wallace noted, Tucker Carlson’s employer does.

Watch:

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘We Warned You’: Jenna Ellis Destroyed by Legal Expert for Comparing Herself and Giuliani to Atticus Finch

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Former Trump personal and campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis is getting blowback from at least one top legal expert after she falsely compared herself and her colleague, Rudy Giuliani, to fictional hero attorney Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and to founding father John Adams.

“No, you are not John Adams. You are not Atticus Finch. Competent lawyers warned you to stay away from the election lawsuits,” said top national security attorney Bradley Moss. “We warned you loyalty to a conspiratorial client [doesn’t] override ethical obligations to the court. It’s on you.”

Ellis, in video posted by Right Wing Watch (below), claimed that she and Giuliani were merely “advocating” for “politically inconvenient candidates” like Trump, which is provably false.

Giuliani, according to numerous news reports, wasn’t defending Trump so much as he was traveling the world trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden to help Trump win re-election. When that didn’t work Giuliani (and Ellis) promoted false election “fraud” narratives, which is not advocacy for a client.

“It used to be that if you represented the politically inconvenient candidates or the, the politically inconvenient, people I mean look at ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ you know, it was like you were you were lauded as a defense attorney, like John Adams, you know, who represented people who deserve a defense,” Ellis said.

“This has such an impact on the future of America,” Ellis continued, “because if we tell lawyers that in order to advocate for a client, that means that necessarily you have to subscribe to their position, you will be you will be liable for your bar license essentially based on not only the merit of their case but the outcome, then we won’t have advocates anymore in the United States.”

Again, that is not a reality-based response to what she and Giuliani were doing.

Moss, meanwhile, was far from the only attorney criticizing Ellis.

Former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Richard Signorelli, commented, “Jenna is lucky she wasn’t given any actual lawyerly responsibilities.”

Atlanta appellate attorney Andrew Fleischman weighed in, saying, “It’s good for people to get due process before being convicted of things. It’s bad to file dozens of frivolous, dishonest lawsuits. That’s the distinction.”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Trump’s MAGA Supporters Chant Profanities Within ‘Clear’ Earshot of Young Kids Biden Was Talking to Outdoors

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Trump’s MAGA supporters were out in full force Friday afternoon, chanting “F**k Biden,” waving flags with the same slogan, along with ones that falsely claim “Trump won,” as President Joe Biden spoke with young children outside a Connecticut child development center.

“Around 50 more Trump supporters,” according to the White House press pool, “gathered a street away from the center. They chanted ‘F*** Joe Biden. He’s not our president.’ They also shouted ‘traitors’ as a coda while we walked inside.”

Minutes later the press pool reported President Biden “entered the playground at 1:25, greeted by some gregarious children. One gave him a hug, as he kneeled to talk. Another, wearing an American flag t-shirt, pointed out parts of the playground.”

But then, confirmation that the Trump supporters’ profanity could be heard by the young children and the President.

“From the playground the pool could still hear protesters chanting from the curb outside. More expletives. More yelling,” the pool reports.

NBC News White House Correspondent Mike Memoli also confirms:

President Biden later made televised remarks promoting his “Build Back Better” agenda, and talking about how improvements to infrastructure will help young children.

 

 

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