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Michigan

Teacher fined $1 for ejecting anti-gay student from classroom

Thursday, June 20, 2013

HOWELL, Mich. — A judge says the free speech rights of a Michigan teenager were violated when he expressed an opinion against homosexuality and was removed from class during an anti-bullying day.

Jay McDowell

Detroit federal Judge Patrick Duggan on Wednesday ruled in favor of Daniel Glowacki and ordered Howell High School teacher Johnson “Jay” McDowell to pay $1.

McDowell admits that he ejected Glowacki from class in 2010 when the student said he doesn’t accept gays because of his religion.

McDowell had played a short video about someone who committed suicide after being bullied about his sexual orientation.

The judge says Glowacki was protected by the First Amendment, and the teacher was “primarily motivated’ by his disagreement with the student’s views.

McDowell said he ejected the student for being disruptive, not for his viewpoints. He was reprimanded by the Howell district and was suspended for one day.

“This had nothing to do with Mr. Glowacki’s religious beliefs,” McDowell’s attorney, Suzanne Bartos, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “(McDowell) did not believe Mr. Glowacki’s comments were appropriate and believed them to be against the school’s anti-bullying policy. Mr. McDowell was acting in a responsible fashion, trying to protect other students in the classroom from the bullying.”

Glowacki missed only 20 minutes of class, Bartos added.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit by Sandra Glowacki, the teen’s mother. Daniel Glowacki graduated in 2012.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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78 more reader comments:

  1. Fined a dollar??? LOL I would say it was worth a buck!!!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:55am
  2. Kinda hilarious. Kids have no rights when we are going to search their lockers, but suddenly hate speech is protected. No wonder our kids are messed up.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:56am
  3. I say we take up a collection to support the teacher’s legal fees, and fines.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:57am
  4. why he has his opnion and that is it

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:58am
  5. Seriously?

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:59am
  6. I would say if the kid said the N or any other Racist comment that we wouldn’t be Protected by the First Amendment BUT since its a anti gay word it’s okay. Bull crap .
    Hate is HATE MICHIGAN!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:59am
  7. I mean what can I say? People are so incredibly dumb these days….sad thing is…a lotta times some people are even dumber than we think

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:00pm
  8. props to the teacher and the judge it’s society’s fault the kid is ignorant in the first place

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:02pm
  9. Gee when I went to school we didn’t have free speech. If I would have said what I thought it would have resulted in physical punishment.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:03pm
  10. There’s nothing wrong with him stating his opinion. If he disagrees because of religious reasons (bigotry crutch) thats fine. I didn’t see it say in the article he used any slurs or hate speech? It said he was disruptive, which i’d think is more than enough reason to remove him. The judge says he was ejected primarily for disagreeing, and that is probably the truth. That is wrong.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:05pm
  11. :/ DAFUQ???

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:06pm
  12. So I guess that tells you what the judge REALLY thought about this case.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:07pm
  13. Hmm a dollar. I would pay $20 to kick that kid out of my class if I were that teacher.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:11pm
  14. A dollar well spent!!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:12pm
  15. I’d pay ten thousand times that for the pleasure of kicking that little shit out of class.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:13pm
  16. Now ain’t that a crying shame? I’d willingly pay any fine if it meant getting a bigoted ass out of my class. In my opinion, Free Speech does not cover hate speech whether it is expressed as an opinion or not.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:13pm
  17. I say “BRAVO” to the teacher, especially during anti-bullying day! I’m from Michigan and I’d be proud to have him as a teacher! :-D

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:16pm
  18. There aren’t enough details in the article to make a proper assessment of the situation. Was the kid simply expressing his beliefs, being an obnoxious prick, both or neither?

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:18pm
  19. Either way, fuck that kid.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:19pm
  20. The fine should be society filled with hate

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:36pm
  21. Are you kidding me? xDD
    That school owes HIM a dollar. MANY DOLLARS. >:C This teacher was doing his job.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:36pm
  22. xDD it’s like they half-looked-the-other-way.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:37pm
  23. The teacher 100% did the right thing by putting that little homophobic, bully out of the classroom!!!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:38pm
  24. Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:41pm
  25. Any loser in court must pay court fees also. But it was a slap in the face for the other party. So hooray!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:54pm
  26. If a student used the N word, would it still be free speech?

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:57pm
  27. I wonder what would have happened if the kid had called a person of color, a Jewish person, a latino(a) or a female student a word of curse? Would it be a dollar or would the kid have gotten expelled?

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:05pm
  28. ??????

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:09pm
  29. Let him use the n word! And see what happens.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:14pm
  30. so like if that kid would have used some racial slur, then would they protect his freedom of speech? yeah right. sounds to me like that kids rights needed to be violated. hate is hate.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:23pm
  31. Fined a dollar and suspended for a single day?

    Sounds like them saying “Yeah, technically I guess you’re right…but still sounds pretty stupid to me. Pay a dollar then off you go sir. Good work.”

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:33pm
  32. I think I owe him a dollar.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:42pm
  33. totally worth it!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 2:37pm
  34. The fact this went all the way to court is a complete mockery of the system!! I’m pretty sure making anti gay comments, most especially During an ANTI BULLYING campaign in school…and after a teacher shows a film about someone who commits suicide because of these types of situations….THAT IS being Disruptive! I would have kicked him out too…the teacher did the right thing. If the teacher’s personal view was the same as the students (but teacher just didnt express it)and he had still kicked him out…they would have never been able to go after him! The kid knew exactly what he was doing and saying and knew it would cause controversy…you have anti-bullying week at school, then a film on this very topic….yet somehow the kid is not only magically “not” disruptive, but his “rights were violated”….pleeeease!

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 2:38pm
  35. The truth of the sad situation is, the kid used the magic words “my religion”. Wether it’s due- to my religion, because of- my religion…or whatever you put in front of that. He expressed that this was a “religious” view.
    Ironic how we no longer accept that when it comes to women being property, being able to own another human being etc. yet these are technically “religious” views as they are present in the Bible…
    At least they only got a buck (which obviously sends a message) but I think it’s nuts this went before a judge in the first place, and even more so that they won the case which states the teacher infringed on the student’s rights instead of finding this was just a disruptive student and a teacher doing the job they should be doing. Can you imagine how many teachers are going to be afraid to take action for fear of being sued.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 3:00pm
  36. Since when did minors have free speech rights, especially in the classroom? The teacher is the autocrat for the time in the classroom so shut up and keep that hate speech to yourself until you are off school property.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 3:04pm
  37. A classroom should be a safe place for a student to respectfully share their opinions on controversial subjects, students, especially children should have the opportunity to have “wrong” opinions. By allowing them the opportunity to voice them, and teaching them to hear out opposing opinions in a respectful manner, growth will happen. All that was accomplished by ejecting the student was to close their mind to the topic, and likely turn them into an activist against pro-lgbt issues instead of giving them the opportunity to feel safe enough to critically debate the subject. If the kid was just being a punk smartass then fine eject him, but for his behavior not for his position on a controversial subject.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 3:37pm
  38. Id pay 5 dollars to one up the bigot :)

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 4:01pm
  39. The article said nothing about an anti-gay word, he had an anti-gay position, this is very different.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 4:20pm
  40. He should not even pay the dollar.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 4:42pm
  41. It is worth it…I give the guy the dollar just cause

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 5:15pm
  42. But you do have to admit the one dollor fine is more of a slap in the kids face than punisment for the teacher

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 6:30pm
  43. The teacher was also reprimanded and suspended without pay by the school district. What this and the court decision say is that, so long as you wrap bigotry in the cloak of religion, anything goes, even if it is harmful and disruptive for others.

    Watch for the next case to be about school prayer being free speech.

    Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 9:17pm
  44. Sorry folks, but the judge was correct. Simply because someone says they don’t accept gays because of their religion does not qualify as hate speech. If the student had then gone on a rant suggesting that all gays should be killed or threatened to harm someone, or started calling names, then maybe the teacher would have had grounds to remove him. Do I agree with the student-absolutely not but if we’re going to have equal rights in this country, those rights HAVE to be equal and apply to everybody. The same holds true for the idiots of Westboro Baptist Church. For our Constitution and Bill of Rights to actually have meaning, then they must be permitted to do what they do, no matter how repugnant and based on ignorance it is.

    So many of you commenting here, clearly didn’t read the article-you just looked at the headline. The student in question DID NOT express any kind of hate speech, just that he didn’t accept gays, which is his right.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 6:08am
  45. hate speech shouldn’t be allowed

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 7:10am
  46. Small price to pay for standing up to idiots.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:04am
  47. I used to live there. It sucked then and it sucks now.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:07am
  48. Should have been fined more and his contract nullified and fired.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:08am
  49. Are you serious?! Wow Corrol Your fk’d

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:14am
  50. they have to teach idiots up there too!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:17am
  51. Why?

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:20am
  52. It depends on what the student said

    If the student just said that they don’t agree with it, that is against freedom of speech

    But if she was attacking people’s beliefs, then it isn’t

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:21am
  53. I would have done the same thing to this kid…the judge only did what he was required to do by law…the $1 award was basically a flip of the middle finger to the kid. Brilliant!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:21am
  54. Is disrupting a class a matter of free speech?

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:25am
  55. :) wish I had teachers like him. The ones I had here favored the bullies. Left me with PTSD for the rest of my life :(
    Teachers like him are a god send. Religion is no excuse to bully others. And bullies shouldn’t be protected by free speech.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:28am
  56. Is bullying protected by free speech? Does religious rights include bullying?

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:30am
  57. Wish my teachers protected me from bullies. The things they said to me damaged me with PTSD. But it was free speech so I had to hear it and take it every day. Even after a suicide attempt I had to hear”crazy Cary sucks so much he can’t even kill himself!” But if its freedom of speech what am I supposed to do? I got punished for fighting back. Part of why I swallowed those pills. I could escape the torture.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:34am
  58. Couldn’t I mean

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:34am
  59. Religion is no excuse for bullying.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:36am
  60. But hey if teachers fear stopping bullies will get them punished then divides will happen.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:39am
  61. I agree I wish I had teachers like that. The one’e I had also favored the bullies.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:40am
  62. :( sucks huh? I’m lucky to be alive after all that. Most victims die from it. Bullied to death should be murder.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:42am
  63. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:43am
  64. Way to be for equality, fire the teachers who stand against bulling and hate speech SMDH

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:44am
  65. All the kid did was just voice his opinion, not like he was harassing or bullying anyone

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:44am
  66. My bullies “voiced their opinions” too. Nothing stopped them.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:49am
  67. Haha, smart judge

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:50am
  68. WOW.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:52am
  69. America where you’re not a bully if you got a bible. Now I don’t hate christians. I know many who are kind like Christ. But I still know too many who use god to be sexist racist or homophobic.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:54am
  70. Another strange fact is most of my tormentors in school were republican. I don’t know why that is.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:57am
  71. same here

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:18am
  72. Now I’m not saying all republicans are assholes. But the assholes who tortured me are republican. Sorry dark dry humor fights the PTSD. It works really well oddly but it kinda weirds people out I laugh at strange things.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:22am
  73. Should’ve just told him to quiet the fuck down.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:46am
  74. zero tolerance for ignorance is great to hear

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:52am
  75. 1st of all if it was a violation of free speech he would have been fined much more than $1. 2nd if free speech allows people to use it in attacking others, why would it be used in hate crimes as a determining factor and found to be punishable? DOUBLE STANDARD. Throw your words just don’t included physical harm? Then what are slander laws for.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12:19pm
  76. The Freedom of Speech does NOT protect hate speech or libel.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12:37pm
  77. I would have given that teacher a 100 $$$ award and a standing ovation for doing that.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 1:45pm
  78. Menacing, Harassment, disturbing the peace, also profanity isn’t protected speech…people need to learn how they can speak out and up, I know it took me a long time to learn.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 1:45pm