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Teacher suspended
for running pro-gay editorial in school paper

Teacher suspended
for running pro-gay editorial in school paper

A high school journalism teacher in Indiana has been suspended for two months after allowing an op-ed piece that advocated tolerance of gays to run in the school newspaper. The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning that Woodlan Junior-Senior High School teacher Amy Sorrell was placed on paid leave Monday while her job is under review.

The editorial, which ran in the January 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk, was written by a sophomore student. According to the article, Megan Chase wrote about her friend coming out to her as gay.

"I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today's society," she wrote. "I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you."

According to the article, after the editorial ran, principal Edwin Yoder mandated that all writings were subject to his approval. After receiving advice from the Student Press Law Center, Sorrell and the Tomahawk's staff rejected his decision. Last week, Yoder wrote Sorrell a written warning for insubordination and failing to carry out her responsibilities as a teacher by exposing students to inappropriate material.

Ten students attended the county's school board meeting last Tuesday to get the newspaper on the next meeting's agenda. They were then directed to assistant superintendent Andy Melin, who claimed that the opinion piece was biased.

According to the AP, the county has had a policy since 2003 that allows principals to review student publications before going to print, but each principal chooses how to enforce the policy.

Previously, Yoder has asked Sorrell to bring him any stories that she felt would be controversial. After he reviewed a story on teen pregnancy that ran in the same issue of the Tomahawk, she said she did not think that Chase's editorial would need the same treatment. (The Advocate)

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