Utah substitute teacher fired for lecturing child about being thankful for his adoptive dads

Substitute teacher fired for lecturing child about being thankful for his adoptive dads

A Utah substitute teacher who lectured a fifth-grader about being thankful for his two adoptive fathers last month was fired and escorted out of the school,

The substitute had asked the students at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills what they were thankful for as they prepared for Thanksgiving, KSTU reported, When one boy, 11-year-old Daniel, said he was thankful that, "I'm going to be adopted by my two dads," the teacher responded with a 10-minute lecture.

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According to students, the teacher said, "Why on earth would you be happy about that?" before launching into a 10-minute lecture about why "homosexuality is wrong" and "two men living together is a sin," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The woman then looked at the boy and said, "That's nothing to be thankful for," the newspaper reported.

Three girls asked the substitute to stop, and when she did not, they walked out of the room to tell the school's principal, according to the Tribune. The woman continued to argue as she was escorted off the premises after the Nov. 21 incident, the newspaper reported.

"She also tried to blame our son," said Louis van Amstel, one of Daniel's parents, told the Tribune. "And (she) told him that it was his fault that she went off."

"(The principal said), 'There's the door, keep walking," van Amstel told KSTU.

Van Amstel, 47, who is Daniel's father and is known for his role on "Dancing With the Stars," wrote on Twitter and Facebook on Nov. 22 that his son had been bullied by the teacher, The New York Times reported.

The name of the substitute has not been made public. School district spokesman David Stephenson told the newspaper in an email that “the school took appropriate action that day based upon their investigation.”

He referred questions about the teacher to Kelly Services, the staffing company used by the district.

Anna Schryver, of Kelly Services, told KSTU in a statement her company was concerned about the incident.

“We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Schryver told the television station. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We’re looking into this situation and we have no further comment at this time.”

Daniel was hesitant to discuss the matter with his dads, but both Louis van Amstel and Josh van Amstel told him they were proud and not angry with him, KSTU reported.

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," Louis van Amstel told the Times in an interview Sunday. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."