A substitute teacher in a Utah school was escorted from the premises and fired after telling a fifth-grade boy his gay fathers are “living in sin.”
The teacher, who hasn’t been identified, asked a fifth grade class at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills what they were thankful for ahead of Thanksgiving.
One boy, identified as D.M., said he was thankful that he was “finally going to be adopted by my two dads,” one of whom is Louis van Amstel, a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars.
The teacher then snapped, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, responding “Why on earth would you be happy about that?”
She then proceeded to lecture the class of 30 students on why “homosexuality is wrong” and “two men living together is sin.”
The teacher reportedly looked at the boy and said of his impending adoption, “That’s nothing to be thankful for.”
Her rant only ended after three girls in the glass — who had asked her to stop multiple times — left the room and alerted the principal to what was happening.
The substitute was escorted from the building while still engaging in her homophobic rant. After an investigation, she was fired by staffing company Kelly Services, which employed her.
Louis van Amstel told the Tribune that the substitute “tried to blame our son and told him that it was his fault that she went off.”
His son, D.M., didn’t want to discuss the incident with school officials, with van Amstel saying he was scared of speaking out against the substitute teacher’s tirade for fear of what might happen.
The boy has had two previous adoptions fail, and was apparently worried that van Amstel and his partner Joshua might reconsider adopting him ahead of their final court hearing on Dec. 19.
“He was so fearful that this could make us think that we don’t want to adopt him,” van Amstel said. “That’s definitely not going to happen. But this situation really hurt him. This person really hurt us.”
In a post on Instagram, van Amstel praised the girls who alerted school officials, and the school for ” standing up for our family against this bully.”
“[I’m] disgusted that the bully is the teacher in a public school,” he wrote.
Alpine School District spokesperson David Stephenson said the district was “committed to having the best employees who care about all children in our schools, whether it be the teacher, the custodian, the secretary or a substitute teacher. Obviously, when situations come up like this, we quickly investigate and take appropriate action. That was done in this situation.”
Stephenson also praised the three girls who helped stopped the teacher’s tirade before it could do more harm.
“Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support,” he said. “It’s awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward.”