Two Georgia teachers working in Shiloh Middle School, Atlanta, have been handed a two-day suspension as punishment for inappropriate comments about a 14 year-old boy’s sexuality.
Speaking to Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes, Jean Mott claimed the two teachers mocked her son and implied he was gay in front of his entire class.
She explained that, after her son was away from school for a couple of days, a teacher told him in class “Your boyfriend was cheating on you while you were away. Oh, you two make a really good couple.”
The boy came home in tears after the incident and told his mother that he was being bullied at school. The impact of ongoing teasing about his sexuality by peers was, it seems, compounded by teachers’ responses.
On another occasion, when the boy was pushed by another student, Mott says one of the teachers responded by asking “How many times do I have to watch you chasing boys?”
After she complained to the school, Georgia teachers Donald Holmes and India Cornelius confessed to “joking” about her son having a boyfriend. Both teachers were suspended by the school for two days.
The mother asked “Help me understand why, as an adult, you would do this to a child? Why would you bully my child, or any child?”
She has argued that the punishment meted out to her son’s teachers is insufficient, and questioned why the two have been let off so lightly after adding to the distress already experienced by her son at the hands of his peers. “I cannot allow these teachers to go out and do this to anybody else’s child,” she said.
Bullying in schools poses a severe risk to the mental health of LGBT+ teens. Here in Ireland, a survey by LGBT+ youth support group BeLonG To found that 76% of LGBT+ second-level students experienced major anxiety due to homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying.
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