According to MSNBC, gay student teacher Seth Stambaugh was reinstated on Thursday to his original student teaching placement. Stambaugh had been removed from his placement after a student asked him:
1. If he was married. “no.”
2. Then, why not. “Oregon bans gay marriage.”
According to the MSNBC report,
“This is a huge teachable moment,” Stambaugh said in a press conference Friday. “I’m glad I can be back in the classroom with the students I gained a great rapport with.”
I’m delighted with the turn of events. All students, queer and non-queer, need strong adult queer role models. Not only do the stereotypes die, but queer folks are made highly visible in a historically very important social role–a child’s teacher. For queer youth in crisis, they have a possible supportive adult in whom to confide, particularly if their home life is dangerous.
There is a potential downside to this situation: Stambaugh was removed on September 15, and he will not be returning to his original placement until NEXT week. According to my math, unless he had a temporary placement, he’s missed 6 weeks of student teaching (out of 15 weeks). Not good. I hope this “hole” has been addressed by Lewis & Clark University.
But for now, I’m going to enjoy this victory against institutional homophobia. If queer student teachers can be protected, we might, might, might be turning a corner.