Showing “Boys Beware! Homosexuals are on the prowl!” video gets Missouri teacher Suspended.

 

As a Social Studies teacher, I showed a variety of videos, old film strips, and utilized primary sources as much as possible.  Movies on slavery, Margaret Thatcher, WWII, the Holocaust, the sexual revolution, Viet Nam, mental illness, and a variety of cultural videos were shared in my classroom.  Like every teacher, I used my best judgment and showed what I thought would be beneficial to the lesson and the students.

Ken Simon was removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave after he showed the 10-minute video that dealt with homosexuality. He is facing disciplinary action.  "Him being suspended over a situation of him actually teaching about our history as a country is absolutely asinine," former student Victoria Long said.  The video was made in 1959. It warns students to avoid strangers "because they might be homosexual."  Simon said he used the video to show just how much attitudes about homosexuality have changed over the years. – kctv5.com

Apparently all it took was for two students to complain, which led to district administrators removing the veteran teacher from his classroom.

 "Showing the video makes sense," student Michael Hollingsworth said.  "If anyone gets offended by that, they shouldn't because it was shown in 1959 and it shows how history has changed through the years," he said.

Simon said he was told he could attend the high school graduation ceremonies if he didn't speak to any teachers or students, which he said would be an impossible undertaking. He is accused of violating district policies involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

"He said it is a delicate topic," Simon said. "I said, 'We teach about Jews and nobody complained, we teach about the slave trade and nobody's complained.'" – kctv5.com

How did the local news cover this story in Raymore, Missouri?

 

 

If you would like to see the video in question, here it is.

 

 

Interesting video, huh?  To be honest, I know I have seen this before, maybe I even used it in one of my courses I taught.  I remember it, but do not recall in what context.  The video is not offensive to me taken in context and I feel it would be appropriate in the right setting and as long as the discussion around it was appropriate.

And that raises some questions.  What happened in the classroom?  Are we missing some information?  Did these two students that came forward and complained experience something more in the classroom than just viewing the video?

Another question … I do not think we know Ken Simon's sexuality, but should it matter?  If I, as a gay teacher, had shown this video in my classroom, would there have been an issue? Would I have been removed?

More than 3,000 have signed the petition at Change.org to give Mr. Simon his job back.  The district stated that Simon is to retire within two weeks after 47 years of teaching.  His benefits and retirement will not be affected.  Click here to see the petition.

So Instincters, your thoughts?   Should this video be allowed in the classroom with appropriate discussion?  I'm all for it.

4 thoughts on “Showing “Boys Beware! Homosexuals are on the prowl!” video gets Missouri teacher Suspended.”

  1. Most have already voiced the

    Most have already voiced the logical context. Teaching is not always about only the happy unicorn farting skittles. It is also about the bad and ugly that happened. After all Pride parades around the country stem from the bad and ugly treatments of homosexuals. We glorify war and killing your opponent but gloss over horrific actions like a deliberate attempt to wipe out indigenous tribal nations of the plains by killing all the buffalo. The people in charge may be wrong in this case. If I were Ken Simon I would go to graduation with duct tape on my mouth and encourage the other supporters to do the same.

  2. When I when I starting

    When I when I starting reading this, my first thought was…I don't have anywhere near enough information. I think it depends on his feelings about the material, whether gay or straight. If a KKK history teacher shows a movie about the klan, and is doing it in a way that is sympathetic to the Klan, there would be legitimate issues to be raised. Same here. 

  3. Was he suspended with or

    Was he suspended with or without pay?  If with pay, this is an obvious attempt to avoid any further discussion on the matter and to make the complaint "go away".  If he was suspended without pay, then there is an issue at hand.  Delving deeper, in what context was the video shown, and on what was the post view discussion centered?

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