Media Trail: December 11, 2019

Photo by Kelly Burkhardt

Report: Substitute teacher fired for berating child on dads

The Salt Lake Tribune reports officials said a substitute teacher in Utah was fired after berating a fifth-grade student who said he was thankful for being adopted by his two dads, one of whom is a former dancer on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Staffing company Kelly Services contracts with the Alpine School District south of Salt Lake City and said in a statement Dec. 2 the unidentified woman was terminated after an investigation into her comments.

The teacher asked the children on Nov. 21 to share what they were thankful for. Students said that after the boy spoke, she lectured the 30 children on her view that homosexuality is wrong. Three girls left to get the principal. The substitute was escorted out.

Father Louis van Amstel has said his son was deeply hurt.

Texas judge warned for refusing to perform same-sex weddings

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning to a judge who refuses to perform same-sex marriages.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley said her “Bible-believing” Christian conscience prohibits her from performing same-sex weddings. She believes she’s entitled to a “religious exemption.” Hensley has continued to perform opposite-sex weddings.

In its order, the Commission said Hensley is violating the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct by “casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation.”

Hensley has 30 days to appeal the sanction. She and her attorney have both declined to comment on the Commission’s warning.

Man charged in assault, accused of yelling anti-gay slurs

NBC Boston reported a Massachusetts man accused of striking another man with a shovel, attacking him with a box cutter and calling him anti-gay slurs was arrested on charges of assault and committing a hate crime, Boston police said.

Boston police officers responded to reports of an assault around noon on Dec. 3 and found a man bleeding from the head.

The 25-year-old man who was attacked had just left Prentiss Street when Eddie Smith, 58, of Boston, began directing anti-gay slurs at him, according to the police report. Smith hit the man with a shovel and cut him with a box cutter near his eye, police said.

Officers said they found a box cutter and a snow shovel. The injured man told police Smith had directed anti-gay slurs at him in the past.

The injured man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Smith will be arraigned on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem and committing a hate crime.

It’s unclear whether Smith has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Fired coaches appeal ruling in favor of Delaware University

The Washington Post reports two former volleyball coaches who claimed they were fired from the University of Delaware based on age and sexual orientation are appealing a judge’s ruling in favor of the school.

A federal judge ruled in November that Bonnie Kenny and Cindy Gregory had failed to show that the university’s stated reasons for firing them were pretext for discrimination.

Attorneys for Kenny and Gregory filed a notice of appeal on Dec. 5.

Kenny and Gregory are a lesbian couple in their 50s. They were fired in 2016 following three losing seasons and complaints about abusing and mistreating players.

The judge said university officials consistently maintained that athletic director Chrissi Rawak fired the coaches because complaints, player surveys and her own observations led her to conclude that they behaved unprofessionally with athletes. 

Reporting via Associated Press