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Genesee Co. teacher won’t let student with 2 moms write about gay marriage

The Associated Press

Montrose, Mich. – A Michigan teacher has denied a request from a student with two mothers to write about same-sex marriage for a class assignment.

Destiny McDermitt, a junior at Hill McCloy High School in Montrose, was given an assignment earlier this month to write a speech discussing an issue they felt strongly about and to take a stand for or against it, M-Live reported.

The teacher, who the district is not naming, allegedly told McDermitt she couldn’t write about same-sex marriage because the topic could offend someone in the class, according to McDermitt and other students in the classroom at the time.

Christine Jackson, left, and Angela McDermitt-Jackson , right, sit with their daughter Destiney McDermitt at their home in Montrose, Mich., Feb. 13, 2020.

McDermitt wanted to ask her classmates if the topic offended them, but the teacher allegedly said no. The student wrote a complaint letter to school administrators and later moved to a different class.

“(It) offended me because I have two moms (who) are married and I really thought it was inappropriate,” McDermitt wrote.

Linden Moore, Montrose Community Schools superintendent, said the district investigated the incident and concluded McDermitt’s topic was not the only one denied and that the teacher needed to be more clear about the parameters of her assignments.

“The teacher was thinking smaller and the kids were thinking bigger,” Moore said.

In the description of the “Take a Stand Speech” assignment, there were no restrictions that applied specifically to same-sex marriage. The only topics banned from being picked were issues written about in another class or “anything that is awkward or inappropriate for a school audience.” Abortion was listed as an example.

A section of the school policy titled “Controversial Issues” states the Montrose Board of Education believes that the consideration of controversial issues have a legitimate place in the instruction in schools.

McDermitt’s parents, Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson, were married in Illinois months before the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage across the country. McDermitt-Jackson was upset to hear her daughter was not allowed to write about the topic.

“We’re grown adults. These are our children,” McDermitt-Jackson said. “We went through issues when we decided to be together, but these are our children. They don’t need to be subjected to it.”