Third Grade Teacher Forced to Resign After Reading Book About Gay Couple to Class
Omar Currie was a third-grade teacher at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School in North Carolina who cared about his students. In April, one of them complained about how a fellow student had called him “gay” during P.E., so Currie decided to proactively respond by teaching his students about tolerance.
He read his class a book called King & King, about a prince who falls in love with another prince and eventually weds him. The book was actually loaned to him by the assistant principal of the school, who wanted to help out as well.
But what started out as a simple character education-focused lesson soon turned into controversy, as outraged parents protested the decision. Before long, Currie and the assistant principal resigned, unable to face the backlash.
“When I read the story, the reaction of parents didn’t come into my mind,” Currie, who himself is gay, explained to the Associated Press. “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's resignation was preceded by a series of committee meetings including parents who objected to him reading the book to his students. In some of those meetings, some parents told him he would “die young and spend eternity in hell.” Other hateful comments he received including telling him being gay was a “birth defect.”
The school also will start utilizing a new policy where teachers will have to have any books they read to students pre-approved by administrators.
Although Currie says he was never formally asked to resign, he did say he felt pressure to do so. Note that North Carolina teachers have no official collective bargaining rights – meaning that there was no labor union he could have gone to in order to protect his teaching rights.