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Teacher back at work after suspension for playing pro-gay song

creative commons

A Southeast Michigan teacher is back at work today  after the school suspended her for showing a pro-gay video in class.

The trouble started when Susan Johnson allowed a student to play the song “Same Love,” by the artist Mackelmore, in her South Lyon middle school class.

The student asked Johnson if he could play it, and Johnson says she inquired if there was any violence or profanity in the song. She gave him the okay when he told her it was clean. The song’s about supporting same-sex marriage, and includes the following lyrics:

“If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me

Have you read the YouTube comments lately?

‘Man, that’s gay’ gets dropped on the daily

We become so numb to what we’re saying."

Another student complained to administrators, and Johnson was suspended for three days, two of them without pay.

“I'm very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry that I feel that they're really hiding behind," Johnson told Fox 2 News Detroit.

"I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there's a lot of bullying and there's a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are."

The district sent out a press release about the controversy today. It says Johnson didn't follow their policy of filling out a mandatory form and getting permission before playing videos in class.

Johnson’s sister, attorney Maggie Lourdes, is speaking for Johnson while she’s teaching today. Lourdes says the district rarely enforces the permission form, and has never brought it up with Johnson as an issue in the past.  

Here is the video:


Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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