Teacher resigns after anti-bullying video upsets parents
CONWAY SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) -- A Conway Springs teacher has been asked to resign after showing students an anti-bully video that depicts a dystopian society in which homosexual children bully heterosexual children.
Conway Springs Middle School social studies teacher Tom Leahy is on leave and said he likely won't return to teaching because the controversial video "upset too many people." He has taught in Conway Springs since 1997, and Leahy says he had planned to retire after this school year. His last day was Oct. 21.
Conway Springs Superintendent Clay Murphy confirmed Monday that the teacher is on leave, but would not disclose the reason or whether the teacher is being paid.
Leahy said he showed the independent film "Love Is All You Need" to three eighth-grade American history classes as a lesson in tolerance last month. Showing the 19-minute video was a response to an assignment Leahy gave his students to create a colony, each with its own Bill of Rights to outline fundamental principles. At least one group rejected gay people in its colony, and he said that students became upset.
The teacher says that a few days after showing the film, he was called in to the principal's office and told that several parents were upset about the film's subject matter and tone. According to Leahy, the end of the film shows brief images of the main character slitting her wrists. Leahy said he expected the film to create a discussion and possibly upset some parents, but he did not anticipate the level outcry that led the district to ask for his resignation.
Leahy said, "I thought that I'd take a little time off and then come back, and people would cool their heels and everything would be better. That didn't happen."
The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1Ho4iF0 ) the school board is expected to accept the teacher's resignation at its Nov. 9 meeting.
The newspaper's calls to several board members weren't returned Monday.