Teacher is fired for showing anti-bullying video without parent’s permission

Tom Leahy

Tom Leahy

Earlier this week, our columnist Rob Watson wrote about a Conway Springs, Kansas teacher whose job was on the line after he showed an anti-bullying video to his eighth grade class.

He tried to teach his students about intolerance. And now he’s out of a job.

Tom Leahy, a social studies teacher at Conway Springs Middle School, was inspired to show his class the anti-bullying short film Love Is All You Need?, after some students exhibited antigay behavior.

Leahy told The Wichita Eagle that when students separated into colonies as a part of a learning exercise, at least one colony wanted to exclude gays, which upset some of the other students in the class.

I was expecting fairly positive kinds of colonies: ‘Do things we think are right, and be nice.’ But it just kind of got twisted around, and it became a place where certain people weren’t allowed.

The film is a parable about a fictionalized world where heteros, not gays, are subject to sexual orientation-based discrimination, but Leahy admits that he didn’t get permission from parents or the principal to show the film.

After outraged parents contacted the school board and superintendent, Leahy found himself in hot water. Though he was set to retire at the end of the current school year, the school board is expected to accept his resignation when they meet next week. Leahy seems surprised by the outrage, but hopes that the community can find a way to move beyond the debacle:

Now I’m just really hoping this community can heal and maybe find some peace. These are people I’ve known my whole life, and I didn’t mean for this to happen.

Watch the short film below:

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