Target: Derrek Ross, Principal of Centennial Middle School
Goal: Apologize to schoolteacher for unfair suspension and pay her for the time she was suspended
Recently, Michigan middle school teacher Susan Johnson was suspended without pay after she showed a YouTube clip to her students in support of equality. The school claimed the clip was offensive despite its message against bullying and for LGBT rights. Johnson’s suspension shows discrimination against supporters of LGBT rights, and she deserves justice for this unfair suspension.
The YouTube clip shown to the class was a hip hop song called “Same Love,” which is a message about marriage equality. A student asked to play the song for the class, and Johnson agreed on learning what the song is about.
She said her students could benefit from the song because, “this is one of the things in my school that we’re trying to practice and we’re trying to instill in our students is tolerance to diversity.” The song’s message of celebrating equality and LGBT rights is a positive message that should not be offensive to any middle school student.
The school suspended Johnson for three days with no pay immediately after a student reported the song. School officials claimed that the song had controversial content, including, “homosexuality, religion, politics views and a sexual slur.” Homosexuality should not be a taboo subject for middle school students, as many of them are likely to know someone who is LGBT.
A message of supporting equality is a positive message about LGBT rights, and this is the kind of message that middle school students should be exposed to. Johnson did nothing wrong by giving this positive message to her students, and should not have been punished for it. Sign the petition letter below to demand that the school apologize to Ms. Johnson and pay her for the teaching time she missed.
Dear Mr. Ross,
Recently, Centennial Middle School teacher Susan Johnson was suspended without pay for playing a song to her class. The song promoted marriage equality and LGBT rights, and was a positive message for the class to hear. However, she was suspended because the song was seen as offensive.
I ask you to apologize to Ms. Johnson and pay her for the time she was suspended. Talking about LGBT rights is not offensive, but instead opens up a conversation that middle school students can understand that everyone should have equal rights regardless of sexuality. Ms. Johnson was only sending a positive message to her students, and should not have been punished for it.
[Your Name Here]