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Indiana

Plan for ‘traditional’ prom backfires as group faces firestorm of criticism

'It Gets Better' founder Dan Savage calls for teacher's firing for saying gays have no purpose and equating LGBT teens to 'special needs' kids
Monday, February 11, 2013

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and activist Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, joined a chorus of LGBT advocates from across the country in condemning a group of students and parents in Sullivan, Ind., who met Sunday to discuss plans for a high school prom that would exclude gay and lesbian students.

As LGBTQ Nation reported Sunday, the group met at Sullivan First Christian Church to plan their “traditional” prom after Sullivan High School officials, responding to an inquiry, indicated that same-sex couples would be permitted the April 27 prom as would any other couple.

Diana Medley (via WTWO-TV)

Among the attendees at the planning meeting was Diana Medley, a special-education teacher at another school, North Central Junior/Senior High School, in nearby Farmersburg, Ind., who told WTWO-TV that the idea of LGBT teens attending the prom was “offensive to us,” adding that she believes homosexuality is a choice, and that no one is born gay.

Medley then said that gays served no purpose in life, and equated LGBT teens to students with developmental disabilities.

“It’s the same thing with my special-needs kids,” she told WTWO-TV. “I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason.”

By midday on Monday, Medley’s comments were broadcast and reprinted by major networks, and daily newspapers across the country, and even overseas.

Fred Sainz, vice-president for communications at the HRC called it “disheartening to see some community members make such an explicit attempt at singling out LGBT youth for exclusion from a prom, which is a milestone event for so many young people.”

“We know that LGBT youth are twice as likely as their straight peers to face bullying, and 92 percent of them hear negative things about being gay,” said Sainz. “Our teachers and community leaders should be striving to create an environment that is inclusive and welcoming, not one that marginalizes kids and says who they are is wrong.”

“It’s unfortunate that some of the adults in Sullivan are instead sending a message to youth in the community that there is something fundamentally wrong with LGBT people,” added Sainz.

Savage also weighed in, and has celled for Medley’s termination.

“Let’s pause here to grieve for all the special education students in Sullivan, Indiana. Students with learning disabilities have it hard enough without getting stuck with a mentally challenged special ed teacher,” Savage wrote on his blog.

“You know who else has it hard enough? I imagine queer kids growing up in Sullivan, Indiana, population 4,249, have it hard enough without having to watch shit like this on the evening news.”

[...]

“Take a good look at the condescending, hateful smirk that spreads across Medley’s face when she was asked if gay people have a purpose in life … and then imagine you’re a gay kid in special ed in Sullivan and this hateful bigot is your teacher.”

The “traditional” prom supporters launched a Facebook group “2013 Sullivan Traditional Prom,” but it quickly vanished Sunday night. An alternate page has been created by supporters of an LGBT-inclusive prom, and has gained over 14,000 “likes” in just 24 hours.

Officials at Sullivan High School and the Southwest School Corporation did not respond to messages seeking comment on the group’s plan.

There has also been no statement by officials at North Central Junior/Senior High School or from the Northeast School Corporation, where Medley is employed.

A petition at Change.org is calling for her to be fired.

Dale Wise, senior minister at Sullivan First Christian Church, however, was quick to distance himself from the group’s plan. He told WTWO-TV that his church “has no involvement” in the matter, and that the group only used the church as a meeting place.

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68 more reader comments:

  1. Please email the officials in charge of Sullivan High School and condemn their Special Education Teacher’s bigoted agenda!
    David Springer, Principal: dspringer@swest.k12.in.us
    Sarah Hannon, Assistant Principal: shannon@swest.k12.in.us

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:02pm
  2. if Secretary Arne Duncan enforced education laws, that gay bashing thug would be fired but all Duncan does is throw LGBT gay bashed children under the bus and lets gay bashing thugs get away with their gay bashing shit

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:02pm
  3. Time to look for a job waiting tables bitch.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:04pm
  4. wtg Danny :0)

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:04pm
  5. She really needs to be fired.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:07pm
  6. I will smack that smile off your face!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:09pm
  7. She needs a bullet between the eyes!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:10pm
  8. actually, she needs a swift kick to the vag

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:11pm
  9. Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:11pm
  10. It’s not about being gay, it’s about discrimination. Why would you care if anyone was gay? If you don’t like it don’t mind them. She’s disgusting for trying to kick them out. Horrible woman.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:11pm
  11. Love this part: “By midday on Monday, Medley’s comments were broadcast and reprinted by major networks, and daily newspapers across the country, and even overseas.” Click on the links in the story!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:12pm
  12. probably republican. and they say muslims are extremists.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:12pm
  13. I hope they make a 4 way stop out of her Vagins

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:12pm
  14. … Agree!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:13pm
  15. “Let’s pause here to grieve for all the special education students in Sullivan, Indiana. Students with learning disabilities have it hard enough without getting stuck with a mentally challenged special ed teacher,”

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:13pm
  16. I hear a battle =3

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:14pm
  17. Hahaha hell yeah! Fuck them!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:15pm
  18. Take away her teaching license

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:17pm
  19. If I were going to this high school, I’d have no problems pissing her off.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:18pm
  20. This bitch needs to be charged with hate crimes

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:19pm
  21. So what is the definition of ‘traditional?’ Is it just no same sex couples or are interracial couples also outside of the parameters of ‘traditional?’ If African-American students attend the ‘traditional’ prom do they have to enter through the back door and drink out of a separate fountain? That used to be a ‘tradition’ too. How about Native American or Hispanic students? ‘Tradition’ was to discriminate against them as well. Will they be allowed to attend this ‘traditional’ prom?

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:23pm
  22. Remind me again why Dan Savage is relevant to anyone who isn’t a white gay man?

    Oh wait…

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:25pm
  23. What a Sad & Hateful person/ teacher this women seems to be!!
    My 2-cents….The only person who should be banned from the celebration is this evil B-Itch!
    Oh!!… and they should Fire her sorry ass, as Well….:}

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:30pm
  24. It’s exactly these kinds of people who create a hostile environment for children to grow up with resentment & antagonism towards the very institutions of learning that are supposed to nurture them. No wonder some kids lash out later with guns & violence. It’s not an excuse, just an observation. These kinds of people never see their judgments as part of the overall problem. As a “teacher”, one has to wonder what she is actually teaching…

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:36pm
  25. Ok, i say fire her but for the psychotic moron saying she needs a bullet between the eyes you sir need to back your hate down some notches before society has to put a leash on you.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:36pm
  26. Obviously this prom is being organized by a select group of students and their parents who most likely all know each other and attend the same church. How else could someone be so smug and self-righteous?

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:38pm
  27. the irony being that her position of power over others is radical in some cultures and time periods, then she turns around and uses that autonomy to take someone else’s. Time for her and Palin to turn in their vaginas, they dont deserve to be part of my gender.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:40pm
  28. NO bigot should be in a teaching position…..

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:42pm
  29. Not to be disrecpectful of the situation, but at this point I am laughing. It gives me great pleasure and a large smile as I read and witness the downfall of a bigot and all who support her. It is a happy moment indeed when the wicked get their just desserts.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:45pm
  30. @Michael J. McNeal, Please read the article before posting contact information for people she DOES NOT work for. “Among the attendees at the planning meeting was Diana Medley, a special-education teacher at another school, North Central Junior/Senior High School, in nearby Farmersburg, Ind.”….. She works at North Central Junior/Senior High School, not Sullivan.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:49pm
  31. She should be fired.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:58pm
  32. I wonder if she thinks her Down syndrome, bipolar, mentally challenged or handicapped students have a purpose, she is harmful to children and should definately be terminated from that teaching position!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:01am
  33. Firstl before I say anything else, I absolutely believe that something needs to be done about this woman. I believe that she should be possibly fired and at the very least most definitely punished in some way. That being said… I also believe in reading many of these comments, I was equally horrified by what people wrote. It is a free country. She has every right to believe what she wants to. She has no right to force these beliefs on anyone else. Just like we don’t have the right to force our beliefs on anyone else. If people choose to be ignorant that is their choice. It doesn’t mean that you or I or her are any less of a human being or need to be shot between the eyes. I believe we should have the right to go to prom with whoever we want to. I believe that we should be able to get married and do our taxes together. I believe that if one of us is sick or dying that our partner should have every right that a spouse would. Those are my beliefs, and no matter how many times I get told that I should go to hell for them, I will not stoop to that level and return hate with hate. God says love everyone not just the people we agree with. By stooping to their level all we do is prove that we are just like them… full of hate.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:17am
  34. damn crazy people these days hahaha

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:18am
  35. I remarked on this previously. This so-called Teacher should be immediately removed from her position for attempting to perpetuate HATRED and BIGOTRY in a school system.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:22am
  36. I think the salient question here is: why isn’t it in the kitchen and making me sammiches?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:24am
  37. Agree. As a gay bipolar person, this woman is dangerous and should not be allowed anywhere near a classroom.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:30am
  38. Pack your bigotry and go.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:43am
  39. Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 1:21am
  40. i feel the teacher SHOULD BE FIRED…..her BIGOTRY has NO PLACE IN SCHOOLS.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 2:38am
  41. Very closed minded, it is about inclusion not exclusion of wonderful people. This teacher obviously needs an education on acceptance and loving thy neighbor. Good people are good no matter if they are gay or straight. I hope she comes to realize this.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 4:34am
  42. I’m so happy to see how you just cannot get away with saying stuff like this without facing a huge backlash. Just the Boy Scouts and Chik Fil A discovered- that kind of homophobic garbage is just not socially acceptable anymore.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 4:53am
  43. it’s the zombie of Anita Bryant – come back as a blonde…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 4:58am
  44. well, they should be getting some major criticism. hello, this is 2013 (last time I checked) not 1950.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:09am
  45. I once heard that missery loves company.. this Lady is trying to prove it.. I guess that’ what happens when men @ women stop wanting a person, they want everyone to hate life.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:09am
  46. Um, they’ve had it THEIR way all along. How stupid.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:22am
  47. Sad, there will always be people like this that just dont get it… That unfortunately will never change…However,there really is no room in our education system for people like this…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:32am
  48. isnt she precious, with her candid, all-knowing smirk? your a hypocritical bigot, woman, you dont deserve a name as a mother or teacher, get out of your job, your a bad seed!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:35am
  49. Tiffany Simmons aka Claire Rainwater (facebook.com/claire.rainwater) is a gay basher. If anyone wants to tell her this isn’t okay be my guest.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:43am
  50. I’ve a feeling I know why her hair looks so limp and lifeless……

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 8:30am
  51. YES, FIRE THE BITCH ! Mr. Hart would

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:13am
  52. What a mean f-ing bitch.. And she is a special ed teacher?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:40am
  53. I am so sick of hearing “traditional”. Humanity evolves. Nothing is “traditional” anymore. These bigots can take their “traditional” everything and shove it straight up their “traditional” ass!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:42am
  54. You tell’em Cherie!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:58am
  55. She is cold and insensitive to LBGT children, their families, friends and classmates. She teaches intolerance and exclusion! Is that in the school’s curriculum?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:03am
  56. I hope she gets fired … by a canon

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:04am
  57. she should be fired if shes a teacher, this shouldn’t be tolerated.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:12am
  58. This “teacher” needs to go back to school and get educated on LGBT issues. -_-

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:14am
  59. Ohhhhh……DUMB people…..these teachers really put themselves to shame.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:17am
  60. She should also have her credentials tarnished, after all, she serves no purpose in life.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:25am
  61. Another “Love Thy Neighbour” Christian – what hypocrites!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:34am
  62. She is a danger to society. Where is the Principal of this school?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:50am
  63. Did anyone else notice her contradictory statements: “Medley then said that gays served no purpose in life” then, “I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason.” How can “God” put everyone in our lives for a reason IF they dont serve a purpose????? Is she an idiot or what??

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:57am
  64. Total Idiot, how she got her license to teach is anyones guess !!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:22am
  65. I agree that this woman should not be teaching, because authority figures who espouse views such as hers endanger children by creating an unsafe environment and encouraging self-hatred. However, having personally experienced what it’s like to be hated, I don’t think it’s appropriate or constructive to direct hatred and threats toward her. A lot of these comments scared me, and I don’t know how we can build a better world with that approach.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:31am
  66. Good always overtakes hate. Its the ultimate principle of religion, only this time these conservatives are on the wrong side of the fence.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:46am
  67. Thats like wanting an all white prom. People need to grow up and stop being bigots.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:01pm
  68. Hooray. I hope her own kids come out as gay.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:04pm