Yet Another Teacher in Trouble Over Anti-Gay Remarks

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 26 2011 7:55 PM ET

On the growing list of school teachers making controversial statements on Facebook and then getting in trouble for them, you can add Missouri math teacher Jim Whitney. The Joplin High School teacher is in trouble after making a comment on the Facebook page of a former student last week who posted a link to a news article about a gay 15-year old from Canada who committed suicide after being bullied.  

"Moral of the story: Don't be gay" was Whitney's comment to the student's post, the Joplin Globe reports. When questioned by another user on the same thread about how many more cases of suicide will it take for people to pay attention, Whitney allegedly retorted, "11-13 ought to do it." Although Whitney released an emailed apology on Monday, he could not be reached for further comment and the Joplin School Board is currently undertaking an investigation regarding the incident. And with the group Missourians for Marriage Equality encouraging its more than 2,000 Facebook followers to take action by contacting the Joplin School Board, Whitney's job is certainly on the line.

The incident is one on a growing list of recent teachers or school board officials making controversial statements on their own, or others' Facebook pages. Last month in New York, social studies teacher Jerry Buell came under school investigation for anti-marriage equality remarks made on his Facebook account. And more recently, a special education teacher in New Jersey got in hot water for describing homosexuality as "a perverted spirit" which is "sin and breeds like cancer." Clint McCance, a member of an Arkansas school board, posted on his Facebook last year that "queers" and "fags" should kill themselves and said the only way he would wear purple would be "if they all commit suicide."

This week in Manchester, England, Christian housing advocate Adrian Smith was demoted for posting seeming negative comments about gay marriage and is now taking legal action against his employer. Disciplinary action was taken against Smith after describing marriage equality as "an equality gone too far." Although Smith described his comments as "not particularly homophobic," his employers, the Trafford Housing Trust, issued a statement saying Smith was in violation of their most recent version of their code of conduct which includes policy of proper use on social media networks.