Susan Johnson, a performing arts teacher said an eight grade student at her Middle School in the US state of Michigan asked if he could play a song to a class of 13 and 14 year-olds. “I asked him a few questions about the song.  If it was violent, if there was any profanity, and he said no. And I said this sounds like a great song to go ahead and use for the class.”

The song, Same Love was made by rapper Ben Maclemore and talks about the dangers of hate and stereotype by describing the struggle of a gay man from birth to death. “This is one of the things in my school that we’re trying to practice and we’re trying to instil in our students is tolerance to diversity,” she said.


After a student disagreed with the message of tolerance, they went to the principal who immediately suspended the teacher without pay. “I don’t think that it was really even thought through,” she said.  “I was paralyzed.  I really didn’t understand why I was being suspended.”

The local authorities gave her paperwork that explained that she was suspended because the song is “controversial” because it contains content about homosexuality. Michigan has a constitutional state ban on same-sex marriage. The state outlawed anal sex (for gay and straight couples) until the US Supreme Court ruled that such bans were illegal in 2003.

Ms Johnson said: ”I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there’s a lot of bullying and there’s a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are.”