Teacher under fire over plan to create separate prom for gay students

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Petitions have been posted online, requesting disciplinary action against an Indiana teacher because she wants to have separate proms for gay and straight students.

Diana Medley is a resource teacher at North Central Junior-Senior High School in Farmersburg, Ind. She recently attended a meeting at First Christian Church. The meeting was not a school function nor was it affiliated with the church. Several parents and students met at the church because they wanted to figure out how to separate Sullivan High School’s prom into two proms. They wanted to create a prom for straight students and a different prom for gay students.

During an interview with a local television station Medley said, “(my) kids come to me because of their sexual preference and they know I don’t agree with it, but I care about you and the same thing for special needs. You know, God puts those people in our life for different reasons.”

The reporter asked Medley, “yYu know, if a gay person…. Do you consider them, maybe, they have some sort of purpose in life? ”

Medley responded, “I don’t. I personally don’t. I’m sorry. I just, I don’t understand it. A gay student or adult or person isn’t going to come up and make some change unless it’s because they realize, you know what it was a choice and I’m choosing God.”

Since the story aired, it has received national attention. People are asking for disciplinary action –even termination- for Medley.

Indiana Youth Group Executive Director Mary Byrne believes Medley’s words are destructive.

“It’s  a gray (area) when someone speaks out of turn like that, but again, if you are in a position of authority you can’t make flippant remarks, even if you think it’s correct,” Byrne said.

Byrne said her words could have an impact on students and could make issues like bullying worse.

“If your teachers are saying these things about this group of young people, then that kind of gives the other kids permission to do something about that,” Byrne said.

The Indiana State Teachers Association encourages teachers to watch what they say, even if they are not on school property.

“We’re all entitled to our personal opinions and our personal views and we have that First Amendment Right –freedom of speech, but teachers are looked at different(ly) and so we do have to be very, very careful with what we say and how we say it,” said Teresa Meredith, ISTA Vice President.

Meredith said sometimes teachers are held to higher standards.

“Your words can either build someone up or they can really hurt someone and so everything we should say -not just teachers, but everyone in society should really think about what they say through that filter,” Medley said.

Fox59 contacted Medley. She did not respond. Fox59 also contacted the Northeast School Corporation superintendent. Dr. Mark Baker did not return emails and phone calls.

Previously, the Northeast School districted posted the following response on its site:

“I would like to clearly state the Northeast School Corporation has never denied any student the right to attend prom or any other Northeast School Corporation sponsored event due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, the Northeast School Corporation has never denied any student access to any events sponsored by Northeast School Corporation. This includes sports, plays, musicals and any other extra-curricular activities.

In regards to the story that WTWO aired on February 10, 2013, the Northeast School Corporation employee that was interviewed was expressing her First Amendment rights. The views expressed are not the views of the Northeast School Corporation and/or the Board of Education.

These comments were expressed during a Sunday community meeting at a local church and at no time was she representing the Northeast School Corporation. The teacher was participating in a meeting with her local church congregation.

The Northeast School Corporation is a public school where all students have equal rights and access to all programs”.

Sullivan High School’s prom is scheduled at the end of April. It is open to everyone.

23 comments

  • Sarah

    Well that don't make since first you say she was at church but it wasn't affiliated with church and it wasn't about school but she was talking to parents about a school function so that does make it about school. Then at the end it says it was affiliated about school. Seems to me she just needs to keep her comments to herself

    • RedStateVet

      So a private citizen speaking at a private event should keep her comments to herself? They are not allowed to talk about school outside of school? From the article:

      "These comments were expressed during a Sunday community meeting at a local church and at no time was she representing the Northeast School Corporation. The teacher was participating in a meeting with her local church congregation."

      I did not realize the 1st amendment only allied to approved, leftwing talking points.

      • Sarah

        What I'm saying is it didn't make since first she wasn't at a church function or school function then it says she was. She can say what she wants but for a teacher telling patents that it isn't professional

      • martinstucky

        Also said they were discussing how they could have a gay prom at the meeting. Does not make sense. Anyway she is protected by a teacher union so good luck getting her fired. It will cost the school corp $200K and take three years to fire her while she receives full pay the entire time. This type of person is educating your children in nearly every school corp in the State and there is simply no way of getting rid of bad teachers, especially since the bad witch Glenda is now in charge.

      • D.W. Marchwell

        If she is speaking as a private citizen, she should not have allowed her position as a special education teacher to be introduced, nor should she have said anything other than, "I am a parent, a taxpayer and a Christian and I am here solely as a private citizen" (or something to that effect). Once she began talking about her position of authority among young, impressionable minds, she was no longer speaking solely as a "private citizen" at a "private event". The first amendment applies to all, and she can say whatever she wants, but as a teacher paid by public taxes and as a teacher in charge of young, impressionable minds, she now has to answer for allowing her job and her beliefs to be mixed together in the same interview.

      • Joel Langvardt

        The legal and ethical issues are separate, but they both apply to teachers. I know. I am a retired high school teacher and well-versed in education law. Legally: the first amendment prohibits government restriction of free speech, with some exceptions ("shouting fire in a crowded theater"). A school district is a government entity, so the first amendment applies. A teacher can be disciplined for speech that harms people, especially students. Ethically: the same injunction that governs the medical profession holds for educators: "First, do no harm!". Teachers have an ethical and professional obligation not to mouth off in a way that harms students and their basic human and civil rights. This ignorant woman who does not even teach at the school whose prom she was trying to interfere with and whose homophobe students she was deliberately trying to egg on to attack a group of fellow students they don't like definitely fails on the ethical issues and probably fails on the legal/first amendment issues. It is time to stop defending hate mongers, especially those who target kids, and most especially those who have accepted a calling to teach, nurture, and protect ALL kids and then willfully seek out opportunities to harm some kids.

  • cjmo2662

    Gay issues is a gray area… I don't care what lifestyle a person chooses, they live with their decisions, I don't. I don't think segregated proms is the best solution, but it could ease tensions and prevent fights from breaking out. It's sad that people still get bullied and it's worse when school officials see it and do nothing! Also, it isn't right when same-sex couples are barred from the prom, so I think this may be a reason why the teacher suggested the 2 proms, to avoid other issues.

    • Joel Langvardt

      Nonsense! Because some teen bigots figure their gay classmates are unworthy, they can cite their "discomfort" (bigotry) as reason to exclude the gay kids from a rite of passage that is a right for all. Then some other bigot righteously and "helpfully" decides "separate but equal" is the right way to go?!!! And that's acceptable?!!! Have we learned nothing? Bigotry must not be coddled. If the kid bigots can't stand to be in the same ballroom, then let them stay away. They don't get a veto over other people's lives. I co-sponsored my school's senior class for the last four years before retirement. I helped plan and supervise prom planning, fundraising, and prom night itself. We made sure all seniors and their dates, if they chose to come with dates, were welcome and had a great night. And it worked. Great fun for all. This bigoted teacher and her attempted interference with another school's prom makes me sick. I know the type – they typically do nothing extra for their school's kids – they don't coach, they don't chaperone dances or out-of-town trips, they don't volunteer to sponsor student clubs or student government, and then get all sanctimonious and claim God has called them to foment and nurture trouble.

      • Judination

        You must be some kind of stupid. You can’t force homosexuality onto someone. You either are gay or you’re not. Giving gay people EQUAL rights doesn’t mean you lose your rights! It means everyone is EQUAL! Maybe you need to go back to school and get a basic education. You can even be on the separate prom committee. Just make sure that your prom is called “the one for Christian Bigots”

  • Rick

    Imagine that, a TEACHER standing up for he CHRISTIAN views. It is about time that ALL Christians stood up as Diana Medley has. Hollywood and the lack of brains inside the beltway in Washington D.C. have been continually pushing homosexuality on the rest of the country, but it is not O.K. for this teacher to take a stand? And you wonder why this country has gone to he77.

    • Dave Z

      Public schools are no place for official religious talk, and all CHRISTIANS don't support your views of Homosexuality. GO AHEAD AND HIDE BEHIND god OR BETTER YET, LETS HAVE SEPARATE BUT EQUAL ALL OVER AGAIN REGARDING THE LGBT COMMUNITY.
      As a Teacher she needs to keep her personal views to herself, The first Amendment protects her right to free expression, but no one is allowed to yell Fire in a theater nor hate speech…
      She is there to support all children through a tough time in their lives, separating kids to prevent conflict rather than teaching acceptance if not AGREEMENT is her JOB.
      She should be retrained or FIRED, Period.

      • RedStateVet

        She was not in a Public School when she was talking. She is entitled to her own views, regardless of her profession. According to you, all teachers must support the left wing ideology, or be fired. Not in my country, wackjob.

    • D.W. Marchwell

      There is a separation of church and state. If you and all other Christians want to avoid homosexuality in the general population, you'll need to build, staff and govern your own private school. ALL taxpayers fund public schools, and as long as we're doing so, we'll continue to insist that religion remain out of them. Teaching religion is up to the church and the parents – isn't that what "family values" is all about?

      • RedStateVet

        She was not in the school! Do you lefties have the ability to comprehend what you are reading:? This was a private event, not affiliated with the school. Her profession is irrelevant. She in entitled to her opinion.

      • easttoak

        She identified herself as a public school teacher (specifically a Special Ed teacher). That is on her.

        Why the need for "lefties"? To me, it makes you sound like you are only commenting because you are anti-liberal. Being gay has nothing to do with political affiliation. I'm kind of tired of my orientation being used a weapon between two groups (left and right) that seem desperate to find stuff to argue about.

    • Judination

      You must be some kind of stupid. You can’t force homosexuality onto someone. You either are gay or you’re not. Giving gay people EQUAL rights doesn’t mean you lose your rights! It means everyone is EQUAL! Maybe you need to go back to school and get a basic education. You can even be on the separate prom committee. Just make sure that your prom is called “the one for Christian Bigots”

  • Ell

    She, as a school official, should never had made any type of on-camera comments at all regardless of what her opinions are.

  • Chuck Anziulewicz

    A local TV reporter asked Diana Medley if she thought Gay people had a purpose in life. Her response was, "No I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it." And this woman is a public school teacher? A SPECIAL ED teacher? She is an embarrassment to the teaching profession. Anyone who wonders why so many Gay young people end up taking their own lives need to look no further than Ms. Medley.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great idea, just like the areas of the Mississippi delta continue to have “separate” proms for their black and white students. We should continue to have all functions be separate but equal, despite rulings during the civil rights era that these things are unconstitutional. Maybe we should just sit around and complain about Obama being Muslim instead while watching the OReiley factor. I agree with this teacher, that we should continue to play God and place judgements on others and continue to teach our children how to hate. After all, if we don’t teach them this, the government will brainwash them for their own agenda.

  • Hamsterpig

    She is entitled to her freedom of speech – just as a gay person is entitled to their free hate speech. Just because I don't agree with homosexuals doesn't make me hate them or fear them, I pray for them to realize that the bung hole is designed for one way traffic.

    • Jonesy

      The only one spouting hate-speech here is you. You clearly DO hold a lot of contempt for the LGBT community or you wouldn't talk about your neighbors and coworkers that way. You'll be a much happier person once you learn to live and let live.

  • Mike Mack

    This bitch needs to be fired.
    She is responsible for young children. Having her say that to a television reporter is bad enough. But, to allow her to be around young impressionable children, should NOT be allowed. She can certainly have her beliefs but she needs to edit herself when it counts.

Comments are closed.

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