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Students Rally, Teacher Reinstated


A teacher at Southwestern High School in Piasa, Ill., will be reinstated after having been suspended for a controversial reading assignment.

Hundreds of Dan DeLong's students showed up at a six-and-a-half-hour school board meeting to urge members to keep the 10th-grade English teacher on staff. DeLong had been suspended after a parent of one unidentified student asserted that an assignment on homosexuality in the animal kingdom was inappropriate.

According to The Telegraph newspaper in Alton, Ill., 200 students and supporters lined the stairs, sidewalk, and office space at the school district's office holding handmade signs and banners in support of DeLong. After a five-hour closed-door executive session, the floor was opened to members of the public who wanted to weigh in. Two spoke in support of the teacher, and no one spoke in opposition. Junior Bonita Stevey also presented the board with a petition in support of DeLong.

"One of the points of the article is to give us thought-provoking information, so we can form our own opinion," she said, according to the article. "Mr. DeLong gives us facts -- he doesn't sugarcoat things. He treats us like young adults, because in a few years, we will be, and no one will be there to edit what we see and hear. He is preparing us for the real world... His passion to help his students shines in everything he does."

The article in question, Jonah Lehrer's "The Gay Animal Kingdom," concerns the research of Joan Roughgarden, a biologist who has documented homosexual societies among more than 450 animal species.

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