The married lesbian moms of a Michigan high school student are speaking out after a teacher banned their daughter from writing about marriage equality for a school project that required students to write a speech in which they “take a stand,” according to MLive, a site for several Michigan newspapers.
Now the Montrose couple, Chris Jackson and Angela McDermitt-Jackson, are speaking out against the teacher’s actions.
The description for the assignment at Hill McCloy High School read, “For every generation in every country, every day, there are issues upon which an individual can take a stand. This assignment asks you to think about what concerns you in your community, your state, your country, or the world.”
“Choose an issue about which you feel strongly and take a stand for or against it,” the assignment said.
The only topics the students were banned from covering were those they had written about for another class or “anything that is awkward or inappropriate for a school audience.” The topic of abortion was off-limits as it was deemed “inappropriate.”
But when 17-year-old Destiny McDermitt proposed writing about marriage equality and her moms, the teacher, whom the district has refused to name, allegedly forbade it because the subject matter could offend some other students.
However, the teacher allegedly told McDermitt that she didn’t want to read a paper about gay marriage, according to letters of support for McDermitt that students sent to the school’s administration.
“[It] offended me because I have two moms [who] are married and I really thought it was inappropriate,” McDermitt wrote in a letter of complaint to school administrators. She also asked to be removed from that teacher’s classroom and moved to another.
McDermitt’s moms were legally married in Chicago a few months before the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land. The women said they hoped their kids wouldn’t be subjected to the intolerance they endured.
“We’re grown adults. These are our children,” McDermitt-Jackson said. “We went through issues when we decided to be together, but these are our children. They don’t need to be subjected to it.”
Following an investigation, it was found that Destiny McDermitt’s topic was not the only one denied, according to Montrose Community Schools Superintendent Linden Moore.
“The teacher was thinking smaller and the kids were thinking bigger,” Moore said, adding that a proposed speech on “animal cruelty” was also denied.
He said there needs to be more clarity about assignments in the future.