A teacher made the decision to read a gay fable to his third grade class after a boy called another boy “gay” during gym class. The teacher’s decision resulted in his resignation and that of the school’s assistant principal.
Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens said Monday that Omar Currie and Meg Goodhand both submitted resignation letters to Efland-Cheeks Elementary School in North Carolina. Currie resigned June 15 and Goodhand resigned on June 30, according to ABC News.
Since the child came back from gym class upset, Currie decided to address the problem during story time. He read King & King, a fable about a prince who falls in love with another prince and they have a royal wedding. The assistant principal lent the book to Currie, according to Washington Post.
What seemed like a simple fable to Currie turned into a public uproar from parents. When he read the fable in April, he was not thinking of how the parents would react. “In that moment, it just seemed natural to me to read the book and have a conversation about treating people with respect,” Currie admitted Tuesday. He added that his main concern at the time was the child.
Currie could relate to his situation. He grew up as a black, gay male in small-town N.C. and he was frequently bullied in middle school. So it was only natural that he would want to help that child.
He was introduced to King & King while studying education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A course he was taking was focusing on addressing diversity in the classroom.
Currie began his time at Efland-Cheeks shortly after he finished his education. The area the school is located in, Efland, is home to 750 people living in a conservative community.
Three parents from the community filed formal written complaints to school review committees just hours after Currie read the book. As a result, school principal Kiley Brown said that from now on, the parents will be notified of every book read in the classroom. They will also have the option to remove their children from a lesson if they choose.
Currie was also criticized by administrators in an interview on school grounds. Though he has yet to reveal the child’s name, they said that he violated student privacy rules.
So what’s next for Currie? News & Observer reported that Currie intends to stay active in the community. He has had five interviews in which other administrators have agreed with his decision. He plans to tutor and mentor students in Efland this summer. I’m sure he will end up with a fabulous position elsewhere and continue to teach what he believes in.
And for Goodhand? Well, she has not publicly commented on the incident.
A public hearing about the reading lesson is scheduled for June 18.