Efland-Cheecks elementary school, in western Orange County, NC was the center of some controversy after third-grade teacher Omar Currie stood before 200 parents at a meeting at the school after the incident. While some opposed what Currie did, many were there as supporters. (Editor's Comment: I would propose that those opposed were probably the ones who needed to hear the fable most, but I digress.)
Currie made an impassioned speech before two hundred faculty and parents before the review commitee, after the meeting was scheduled in response to complaints made by some parents. School policy requires a public meeting whenever they recieve such complaints about curriculum.
Omar Currie read the gay fable "King and King" in response to a bullying incident in his class where a boy who acts "a little feminine" was being called a girl, and the word "gay" was used in a dirogatory manner. The committee ultimately upheld the use of the book, however, also instituted policies that require teachers to notify parents of all books they plan to read in class, and to fill out a form for every bullying incident.
Currie, who is himself gay, objected to the new rules, stating “This egregious policy creates an undue burden on teachers, and it hurts students. The district must understand silence is poison.”
Currie also said he believed the district should have fully supported his decision to use this book, which happened in a previous district. That district defended the book in court.
“In direct contrast ... here in Orange County I repeatedly heard from school officials that the book might have been appropriate to read in a more progressive area without parental consent, but in Efland we need time. These comments were made as if to persuade me that today is not the time to stand up and protect students ... but that change on all issues must come about slowly, even if the safety of my students is compromised,” Currie said.
About three-quarters of the assembled crowd supported Currie, and engaged in sustained applause after Currie spoke.
Kim Grooms said children should be exposed to a variety of cultures, “and it is disappointing that this teacher does not feel supported.”
Tyla Olson noted that gay people can now legally wed.
“We cannot shelter our children from same-sex marriage,” she said. “We should allow diversity to be taught in our school. Teach peace and acceptance.”
But several other speakers criticized Currie’s action.
They said the book, in which the two princes kiss on the last page, was inappropriate for third-grade children. Some said they respected Currie but that parents should have been allowed to opt their children out.
Several said other books that focused on bullying could have been used to address the incident and that the actions by Currie and the assistant principal who gave him the book showed a “homosexual agenda” at the school.
“These are my children. These are not your children,” said Rodney Davis, who has two children at Efland-Cheeks. “What gives you the right to tell me what they can listen to and what they can hear in our school? That’s bullying.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: These people have NO IDEA what bullying REALLY is...but again, I digress...
School district spokesman Seth Stephens repeatedly told speakers to focus on the book and not individuals.
When Davis interrupted him, Stephens had a sheriff’s deputy escort Davis through the door and out of the school.
Reportedly, Currie does not plan to return to Efland-Cheeks Elementary in the fall, according to Time-Warner Cable News.