RAYMORE, Mo. — A Missouri high school teacher was removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave after he showed students a decades-old public service announcement that depicted gay men as depraved sexual predators.
Ken Simon is facing disciplinary action after showing the film to a class of seniors, but said he was using the video to show just how much attitudes about homosexuality have changed over the years, reports KCTV.
“I didn’t realize it was going to cause such a backlash,” Simon said. “It was totally innocent.”
“Him being suspended over a situation of him actually teaching about our history as a country is absolutely asinine,” said former student Victoria Long.
The 10-minute film, titled “Boys Beware,” was produced in 1959 by the Inglewood, Calif., police department and school district. It warns students to avoid strangers “because they might be homosexual.”
Article continues belowTwo students lodged complaints with the school’s administration over the video’s subject matter, sparking Simon’s suspension less than three weeks shy of his retirement from a 47-year-career at Raymore-Peculiar School District.
About a dozen past and present teachers and students gathered Thursday to peacefully protest the district’s decision to suspend him.
The school district cited privacy concerns in refusing to comment on the situation, but said Simon’s future retirement benefits will be unaffected.