Tom Leahy, a Kansas school teacher, forced to leave his job after playing a popular anti-homophobia video for his students. Leahy, who teaches social studies at Conway Springs Middle School, played the video for a lesson he was teaching on tolerance in his eighth grade class, which is made up of students ages 13 to 14.
The video, called “Love Is All You Need,” is very popular on YouTube and has over 12 million views. It asks viewers to imagine living in a world where homosexuality is normal and heterosexuality is abnormal. But what seemed like a great message to Leahy ended up causing a violent controversy that would end in his resignation. He told the Witchita Eagle school newspaper that the video upset too many parents and other members of the community. Because of this backlash, his eighteen year tenure at the school came to an end.
Leahy admitted that he suspected something would happen as a result of his playing the video, but he didn’t imagine he would lose his job. He states that he was prompted to show the video after a few of his students expressed their extremely anti-homosexual views during a classroom discussion. So Leahy decided that he was going to take action and educate his students – which is his job as their teacher. After the students viewed the video, many parents complained to the school about the subjects covered in the clip, and made enough homophobic noise to get Leahy fired for doing his job.
The majority of parents were angry about the video’s portrayal of religions that discriminate against homosexuality and the fact that it discusses suicide tendencies among homosexuals. Leahy told the newspaper that he didn’t want to show students a corny anti-bullying video, but he wanted them to see something powerful that would hopefully motivate them to treat everyone with kindness regardless of their sexual tendencies. An noble goal. But as often is the case with noble men, he was severely punished for a good deed.
He expected to return, but he has now been told never to return to the school again. He says the reason he will not return is because parents have expressed that they do not want their children to be in his classroom. School board officials validated that claims that Leahy was not returning to the school, but they did not discuss the specifics of the case. It as abominable that a teacher who was effectively and competently doing his job to educate students, was banished by a bunch of ignorant homophobes because they were scared. But America is like that, in some places – education frightens people.