High School Teacher Suspended after Assigning an Article on Homosexuality in Animals

Monday, November 2, 2009


An 10th and 12th grade Honors English teacher in Piasa, IL was suspended for assigning an article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom to his students.

Dan Delong, an English teacher at Southwestern High School told a local newspaper:

“I have been suspended, but not without pay. But I would rather not comment further until I speak with my union representative.”

DeLong, who is straight and married, had his students read an article written by Jonah Lehrer and quotes Joan Roughgarden, a biology professor at Stanford University who challenges Darwinian sexual selection by documenting more than 450 animal species that engage in homosexual behaviors.

The article was published in a 2006 edition of “The Gay Animal Kingdom” and can be read in its entirety HERE.

Elizabeth Meyer, P.h.D., writing in Psychology Today asks:

“Should teachers ask their students to read about controversial topics? Should we allow parents veto power over the curriculum?”

Ms. Meyer points out Mr. Delong’s assigned reading was an attempt to ask students to question the dominance and “naturalness” of heterosexuality. He is helping his students understand concepts such as heterosexism and heteronormativity.

While Mr. DeLong’s suspension is outrageous and prejudicial on the merits, his wise students have responded in true activist fashion by forming a Facebook group called “Bring back Mr. Delong” to show support and share information about this situation.

This entry was posted in Academia, Bigots, Homophobes, Homosexuality, News, Radical Rightwingers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to High School Teacher Suspended after Assigning an Article on Homosexuality in Animals

  1. Pechanga says:

    The teacher simply tried to impart to his students the value of learning, the exchange of ideas, and opening your mind to new ideas.

    Teachers today are faced with low salaries, constant criticism and bigoted parents.

    It’s a miracle they even bother.

  2. Estacada says:

    The parents who objected to this assignment are the types who believe Reagan single-handedly ended European communism.

    The NASCAR, Joe Six Pack crowd of dolts and dummies.

  3. At least the kids are ok. Good for them and, I’m guessing, most but sadly not all parents. It only takes a couple of screaming nut bags to fuck things up.

  4. Fran says:

    Be afraid of gay penguins & pigeons!!!!

    Where & when does this bullshit end?

    I have to wonder if they are all worked up about this topic, yet allow the military recruiters to roam the halls of the high school & recruit their kids to kill and be killed in wars of choice?

  5. Randy Arroyo says:

    I’ll bet a $10 dollar bill the parents who squawked are God-fearing, church-going, Bush-supporting conservatives. They don’t want their kids to think. They want them to follow.

  6. Reamus says:

    Well there’s another town I can cross of my list of places to retire…jesus.

  7. Joe in Colorado says:

    I love the response from DeLong’s students. Makes my heart fill with pride. His students are light years ahead of their parents. Isn’t that always the case?

  8. Dmitris says:

    DeLong is trying to teach his class to think.

    This is what’s supposed to happen when you get to college. Suddenly, your exposed to a myriad of ideas and beliefs. It’s called an e.d.u.c.a.t.i.o.n.

  9. Rockync says:

    This teacher has been reinstated but not without making consessions, which is total bullshit.

    “I agree with the Board that the material in my class was not age appropriate for my sophomores and for that, I apologize. I understand the Board has decided that I shall receive a Notice of Remedial Warning,” he said in the statement.

    This is an honors class for what, 16 year olds? Age inappropriate? If I was in his class, I’d be insulted. I do understand his position in caving with this statement; he has a family to support. But I hope the good people of this town get rid of all those jerks on the school board.

  10. At this age, the kids are fine to learn about this sort of thing. And the backlash against the teacher was not justified.

    Nevertheless, perhaps it would have been more prudent to notify the parents earlier and to give them the option of removing their child if they deem necessary. It may not be right for them to do so, but it is their basic right if they want to. That’s just the price of living in a free country.

  11. Rockync says:

    purecommonsense – I could agree with your suggestion that parnets be notified before controversial material is introduced except in this case we are not talking about reading material that discusses the lifestyles of higher thinking beings. We are talking about naturally occuring events in the animal kingdom. This wasn’t about homosexuality but simply about how nature works. This should have been no more controversial than studying the reproductive cycle of earthworms.

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