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When it comes to being a part of the LGBT community, no matter which country you live, you’re likely to experience pervasive discrimination which drastically affects your well-being.
A recent incident at a school in Illinois reflects the widespread discrimination persistently shaping the lives of LGBT people in both understated yet significant ways.
Nathan Etter, a 30 years old music teacher received a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day from Phillip, his husband. This made some first graders make comments, such as ‘gross’. Etter told The Chicago Tribune that he made up his mind to use it as a ‘teachable moment’ in order to explain that there are some families who have 2 dads or 2 moms.
Later, Etter was summoned to the principal’s office and was told to stick to the curriculum. The Principal of the school scolded Etter, according to a representative of the local teachers union and was treated in a discriminatory manner. This led to a controversy that lasted several months.
He said, “The way the situation was handled brought me great personal concern.” He told NBC that, “This would have never happened if he had received flowers from his wife.”
Following the incident, hundreds of parents and students from Prairie View Grade School in Burlington, Illinois, gathered up to support a gay teacher at a school board meeting. The incident was discussed at the standing-room-only school board meeting, and over 100s of faculty members, parents and teachers marched inside the room to support Ether. In fact, some showed up with placards that read, “Respect for all” and “We support Mr. Etter.”
Jeff Kellenberger, School board president, called Etter a valued mentor and he was asked to teach again next year. He added that his employment was never in jeopardy and there is nothing to protest.
“A primary value of 301 is we are welcome, inclusive, respectful to all faculty, staff, students, and families,” Kellenberger told NBC.