Target: Lincoln County’s Board of Education
Goal: Review the case of a lesbian middle school teacher who was fired following malicious, unfounded rumors spread by her coworkers.
Lincoln County, West Virginia has fired a former 8th grade teacher, Kelli Burns, for dubious and questionable reasons. Claims have been made that Burns showed the students naked pictures of herself and tried to “turn the students gay.” There is no evidence that these allegations are backed up with any facts besides hearsay, and the very argument that an open lesbian was attempting to convert others to being gay sounds quite reminiscent of conservative straw-arguments against same-sex rights.
Burns herself commented, “I’m not sure what effect the threat of a public shaming of me was supposed to achieve, aside from bullying me into resigning, but they didn’t get it. It is appalling how low they stooped and I’m sure would have much preferred all this trashing of me and dragging out inferences about my personal life and sexuality to have stayed behind closed doors, or ‘in the closet’ if you’ll forgive the pun.” Burns also remarked that many of her fellow teachers, mostly men, were actually breaking the law with underage students, and that she is being cast as a “sexual predator” as a result of her sexual orientation.
Kelli Burns has also reported that many of her fellow teachers at Guyan Valley Middle School and Harts middle school (where she taught before) spread rumors about her being a “raging lesbian” who could not be allowed around children. Burns stated that there are people who can confirm that these teachers said this in front of the hearing of other teachers and students, and that those who can confirm it do not fear to do so. Burns also added that some students have approached her to note that they had been warned about her “lifestyle,” but came to appreciate her as a good teacher in spite of the negative rumors they had been told.
The circumstances surrounding Kelli Burns’s firing are completely suspicious. Sign this petition to insist upon a proper review, and to stand by Burns as she appeals the case.
Dear Board of Education of Lincoln County, West Virginia,
I am writing to express my concern over the recent firing of a school teacher, Kelli Burns, from Guyan Valley Middle School. I would like to believe that you, the people of the board, have the best interests of your county and every individual student in mind when you make decisions about who to retain as teachers. However, this case concerns me, as I have read Ms. Burns express that there were judgmental comments made regarding her sexuality in the hearing of other students and teachers.
Having reviewed everything that has been written about this case, I have not seen any evidence that Ms. Burns showed students naked photographs of herself or did any of the other actions that she is alleged to have done. As Ms. Burns appeals, I am writing to stand in solidarity with her. I am also writing to insist that you review the information and the allegations once more, as everything which has been printed so far sounds intensely spurious and based on hearsay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Das steinerne Herz on Wikimedia Commons.