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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — After a third-grader tearfully recounted how another boy had called him “gay” during gym class, teacher Omar Currie chose to raise the issue during story time by reading his students a fable about a prince who falls in love with another prince, ending with a happily-ever-after royal wedding.

That decision in April ignited a public outcry from some parents in the rural hamlet of Efland, North Carolina, resulting in Currie’s resignation this week from a job he loved. The assistant principal who loaned Currie her copy of “King & King” has also resigned, and outraged parents are pressuring administrators at the Orange County Schools to ban the book.

“When I read the story, the reaction of parents didn’t come into my mind,” Currie, 25, said Tuesday. “In that moment, it just seemed natural to me to read the book and have a conversation about treating people with respect. My focus then was on the child, and helping the child.”

Currie knows firsthand what it is like to be bullied. Growing up gay and black in a small town in the eastern part of the state, his memories of middle school are of being a frequent target for teasing and slurs.

As a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Currie entered a teaching fellows program with the intent of helping young people. He was first introduced to “King & King” during an education course that included strategies for introducing topics involving diversity in the classroom.

After graduation, Currie became a teacher at nearby Efland-Cheeks Elementary School. Though only about 15 miles west of Chapel Hill, a college town considered among the most liberal enclaves in the state, Efland is a socially conservative community of about 750 people where churches line the highway through town.

Within hours after reading the book to his students, Currie said he got a call from the school’s principal requesting a meeting in her office for the following morning. The parents of three children soon filed written complaints to a school review committee, which twice upheld the use of the book after heated public meetings. But the school’s principal also issued a new directive that teachers must submit an advance list of all books they intend to read with students to their parents.

“King & King” has been a subject of controversy before. In 2006, the parents of a Massachusetts second-grader sued after the book was read in their child’s class. A federal judge later ruled against them, saying the rights of parents to exercise their religious and moral beliefs are not violated when children are exposed to differing ideas in public school.

In his two years at Efland elementary, Currie said his sexual orientation had never been an issue. His co-workers, and some parents, knew he lives with his male partner.

But at the committee meetings to discuss Currie’s use of the book, some parents whose children were not in his class made their attacks personal, telling him he would die young and spend eternity in hell. He also began receiving hate-filled letters and emails, including one copied to other teachers at the school, described homosexuality as a “birth defect” while accusing Currie of trying to “indoctrinate” children through “psycho-emotional rape.”

Though he says administrators never formally disciplined him for his decision to read the book, Currie said he was made to feel that he had done something wrong and felt pressured to leave the school. He is currently looking for another teaching job.

A spokesman for the Orange County Schools said Tuesday that Interim Superintendent Pam Jones was not available for an interview.

Meg Goodhand, the assistant principal who resigned after loaning Currie the book, also declined to comment.

The decision to allow “King & King” in the classroom has now been appealed to the district level, and a public meeting to discuss the issue is set for Thursday.

Currie plans to attend and says he will speak out.

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21 thoughts on “Teacher Resigns After Reading Students Book About Gay Couple

  1. D.B. on said:

    I know for a fact that at points in my life I have had gay teachers who were great teachers. From a Biblical and moral standpoint I don’t agree with homosexuality yet I loved these teachers and respected them as teachers and human beings; they never tried to push their views on me. My problem here is that it is not this teachers place or the place of any other adult to teach someone’s child that being homosexual is ok. Parents send their children to school to get a good education. They trust that the adults who are teaching them are going to be responsible and teach them the right things and not use a situation to validate their own way of living. Surely parents know their children are going to come across things that they don’t agree with or want them to hear or be a part of and they trust the adults who oversee them to handle situations properly. This teacher acted irresponsibly. He could have handled this situation so differently instead of allowing the bullying he received as a child get the better of him and cause him to address the issue of homosexuality instead of the real issue; bullying. All kids get bullied and adults need to address the person who is doing the bullying. Should the teacher and assistant principle have resigned? No! I think it was a lesson in learning; leave your personal lifestyle out of the class room and teach your students the subject you were hired to teach and not your lifestyle. Hopefully they will get hired elsewhere and understand that just because you are ok w/how you live doesn’t mean everyone else is and not to try to validate who you are by influencing the most innocent and defenseless human beings…children. These parents had a God given right to protect and fight for their children.

  2. If someone/other students were bullying this child and calling him names. The best solution would be to call the children all in for a discussion on bullying (verbal or physical); let these little bullies know that this type of behavior is not and will not be tolerated and then contact the parents and make them aware of what will happen next if they don’t assist the school with stopping their child’s behavior. If it doesn’t stop suspended, then expelled. Simple

  3. celeste on said:

    We don’t have to condone each other’s lifestyle to agree that all human beings should be treated with respect. That teacher and principal resigning has not changed the fact that marijuana is legal in some states, and there are gay and lesbian, transgender people who are contributing members of society. And always will, let’s educate Ourselves and the next generation ignorance is where fear thrives.

  4. I suppose the parents have a right to have some decision making power in deciding school curriculum. They are, after all paying the salaries of the workers. It’s a good thing too, otherwise, with the way these teachers have been gettin’ freaky with the students these day, if they let this slide, a reading of Fifty Shades wouldn’t be far behind.

  5. Linda on said:

    Asians deserve what they are getting in NYC.

    They target African-American neighborhoods to open up their sub-par Chinese restaurants on every corner.

    They are getting rich from us from their Beauty Supply stores where we purchase that dam weave hair.
    Yet and still they do not patronize our businesses-all they do is take!

    They are nothing but parasites!

  6. What I dont understand is, why the gays are so determined to force everybody to accept them. 1.5% of Americans are gays, so dont expect everybody to accept you. There is someone in NY who is targeting Asian right now… You see, people wont accept others for whatever reason, and you cant force them to like you if they dont like you. I dont have anything against gays and I am not a very religious person. I believe in live and let live…

  7. specialt757 on said:

    It’s apparent by all of the disgusted comments about Bruce and Rachael that folks don’t find their “life choices” or shenanigans “ok”. You have to know the difference between what you can and cannot change.

  8. Clearly, because he is gay himself, this “teacher” is promoting homosexuality. How is he “helping” a child by reading the “King and King” book? These kids are at a tender age where they should not be exposed to these sexuality issues. Tolerance is not just for gays. Mr.. Currie was out of line and should have been asked to resign.

  9. MacBen on said:

    But that tranny Bruce Jenner and that white woman in blackface are ok?! Stop it. I don’t subscribe to the LGBTQ community but I understand the teacher’s point in this case. ‘Tis much ado about nothing.

    • MacBen, no one says what Bruce or Rachel did or doing is okay. In my opinion, if people are going to support one of them, they should support both. Both are claiming to be something that they are not and can never be.

  10. Just a sigh that the so called parents in that area are not teaching their children, “to do the right things.”
    Teaching Racism to young impressionable minds should be against the law, for who would choose to have that mind set? This Just goes to show that teaching a child racism and bigotry is not only a perfect curse so that they get, up-set, angry, agitated, and miserable every time they encounter or hear about Blacks. But also like a time bomb that will one day cause them to say, or do something that will cost them their career, life, or freedom.

  11. specialt757 on said:

    Mr. Currie may have a good heart and with good intentions, not a bad person at all. However, I would have felt some kind of way as well from his decision to read this book to my kid(s). There are many groups being bullied as Kay stated, this could have been a teaching moment that included a variety of classes or diversities.

  12. THE PARENTS DID NOT OVERACT!!!! Why do gays think they are the only group that’s bullied? If the teacher want to read about diversity and inclusion, read a book about all the different categories of diversity and not single out the gays. I was bullied because I was skinny. Others were bullied because they are fat, wear glasses, braces, unattractive, etc. Bullying isn’t only a gay thing.

    As a parent, I feel it’s not the school job to teach children only about gay tolerance. If they want to teach about tolerance, teach about tolerance for all groups maybe parents might be more supportive.

  13. Barb on said:

    The Parents did not Overreact! Thank You to the Parents of those Students who Spoke Out! I hope this Happens Everytime Something of this Natire Happens. Children have Enough to Deal with, without being Exposed to this Sick and Twisted Behavior!

  14. Parents have every right to be complain about the teacher introducing this to their kids…EVERYONE does not agree with the feminizing of our boys…please no hidden agendas just teach…

  15. Linda on said:

    The third grade may have been too young to introduce this subject to children.
    However, I think that the parents totally overreacted!

    We are living in a very diverse society made up of all different types of people and at some point in school or at home kids need to be educated about this.

    Sad that the teacher, Mr. Currie felt he had to resign over this issue.

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