This Song got a Teacher suspended

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.”


17 thoughts on “This Song got a Teacher suspended”

  1. But… but… I thought it gets better? This teacher is simply another victim of the “it gets better” hoax.

    1. Agreed! AGREED! AGREED
      But we know, that exreme “chrisitians” are no better than taliban in their extreme thinking, linking both at least a thousand years back – extreme christians even more than 5000 years.

  2. I won’t say a word about that teacher thing – there is nothing I can do about it but being angry.

    But that video. It’s marvelous. I really have some tears in my eyes…

  3. simply incredible… we live in a stupid world, in my next life I hope to be an animal, not a human. Love.

    1. Well, an animal which is no human (because humans are just as animals as any other only a bit more evolved, which is also debatable :-p)

      And in a world where no humans are…ok, yes me too!

  4. There is no place for humanity in human nature, let alone difference of opinions. As soon as we give up our individuality and uniqueness we shall live in harmony.

    I don’t know why they just don’t come out and say it.


  5. Macklemore! Cool! It’s just kinda neat to hear him referred to here because he’s from Seattle (where I live) and a pretty big deal here.

  6. As a life long resident of the great State of Michigan I look at this article in a positive light. It wasn’t too many decades ago where every student in the class would have been up in arms about such a video. Although the Michigan constitution may be outdated in its definition of marriage the younger generation in our state has overwhelmingly supported the gay community. My guess is that this video was shown in a non-union private christian school and even then only a few influential parents caused a problem over it. Lets not let a few bad eggs spoil our view of the wonderful state, country, and world we live in.

  7. This I found on the SLCS website

    Note from Bill Pearson, Superintendent of South Lyon Community Schools

    While the District generally does not discuss employee issues with the school
    community, misinformation about the recent issue concerning a Centennial Middle
    School teacher must be addressed. The District has an established practice (included
    in the Staff handbook) that requires the instructor to first preview any taped material
    to be used in the classroom (including YouTube clips), then submit a completed form
    about the proposed clip to a building administrator for approval. To ensure that the
    proposed material supports the curriculum for the class, the form requires the
    instructor to provide a brief description of the clip and how it relates to the lesson plan. Further, the instructor is to identify the curriculum benchmarks that students will complete as a result of watching the clip. (See the attached South Lyon Community
    Schools Video/DVD/Web-based Clips Use Form). The employee neither previewed the
    YouTube clip, nor submitted the form for approval as required. Instead, a student gave
    the clip to the employee at the beginning of class and the employee showed the clip to the class. The clip had no relationship whatsoever to the instructional class content planned for that day. The purpose of this established practice is to ensure that instructional materials are appropriate for the course and its students. It is because we care about all students that we have this procedure in place.

    1. On that basis you may think ‘Fair Enough’.
      But does a fairly benign departure from a set procedure warrant immediate suspension instead of a reprimand or similar? No, never!
      The story is still not complete.
      The school itself cannot be following proper procedure regarding the fairly extreme reaction to the incident.

  8. Thanks for bringing this to my attention — it’s a great tune and a wonderful, powerful, video! I’ve lived in Michigan before and this comes as no surprise to me but I know so many people up there will say they just don’t care — they have their hands full taking care of themselves they’ll let it slide — one of the reasons I’m home in Austin!

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