TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. – The eighth grade social studies teacher at West Alexander Middle School in Taylorsville played a seven-minute video by popular hip-hop artist Macklemore. The song, called “Same Love,” has pro-gay marriage lyrics and depicts a gay couple through various stages of life, including their marriage. One parent tells us, “We need to be tolerant of everybody. It wouldn’t have bothered me, as a parent.”
But it did bother some. One mother told WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty that she thinks the teacher should have gotten parental permission before showing the video. The district suspended the teacher for three days, telling WCCB in part, “The issue in this matter was one of whether the video was curriculum-based, educationally-related and age-appropriate for a class of middle school students. We look forward to the teacher being a valuable member of our school system for years to come as we continue our commitment to provide the best possible education to all of our students as well as to treat each of them with compassion and understanding.”
“It’s a personnel matter, but it would be nice to hear more since this personnel is working with our kids,” says local parent Patrick Jean.
We’ve learned the name of the teacher – Ron Foster – but we’ve been unable to reach him. We’ve also spoken to the NC ACLU. Organization leaders there tell me they want to speak with him.
Parents of students in Foster’s class say he is well liked. Jean says, “I do think you need to give a little bit of leeway to the school. Education isn’t supposed to reinforce what you believe. It’s supposed to challenge what you believe and I think that’s what this teacher was doing.”
WCCB obtained a copy of the worksheet students were asked to complete after seeing the video. It includes four questions, including “should we accept people that are gay?” Also, a rep for Macklemore emailed WCCB, saying the artist wasn’t aware of this incident and that he was on tour and unable to comment.