Alex Blaze

Gay student teacher gets his job back in Beaverton, Oregon

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 23, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

Seth Stambaugh, who was removed from his student teaching job seth_stambaugh.jpegwhen he came out to a student, is allowed to go back to his position. The school released a statement:

The Beaverton School District and Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education have jointly agreed to offer Seth Stambaugh the opportunity to return to his original student teaching placement at Sexton Mt. Elementary School starting late next week. Lewis & Clark and the Beaverton School District will continue to provide Mr. Stambaugh with a high level of support as we do for all student teachers as they begin to serve students and the greater community. We are moving forward with our common values and principles of equity, respect and inclusion.

Being a teacher, he called it "a huge teachable moment." I hope other schools in the US are paying attention as well.

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I'm so glad he's back in action!

As for the teachable moment, other districts are learning... "how can we avoid being caught?"

Renee Thomas | October 23, 2010 2:59 PM

Short answer - "you can't avoid getting caught - not in this era of social networks." Glad for Seth but now we need to make it just as untenable to trash a transman or woman's career for issues that have nothing to do with job performance.

Only by calling the haters out every time without fail will the larger community make demonstrable progress. Transpeeps are (in 2010) the "canary in the coal mine" vis-à-vis social justice and equality.

I'm going to try not to be as cynical as Gina and say that the lesson they learned is that everyone has a sexual orientation and it's more important to set up clear guidelines about what's appropriate for children based on what they're actually ready for instead of just firing the gay guy, but there are ways to get away with it.

One of the easiest ways is just to cast doubt. A parent complains because he said he was gay, so wait for him to make some other mistake, then fire him for that. Or go behind his back and ask his college to place him elsewhere. Or have another story ready for when the media ask questions. Or tell him he'll get a bad reference if he complains. Etc.

And yeah on what you said about trans teachers. I put one of my posts on LGBT teachers on the huffington post, and one comment I got "corrected" me for using the term LGBT instead of gay because they thought trans teachers should still be excluded. I asked why, and this person left some gibberish about men in dresses not being OK, but butch women being fine. Oh well.

Renee, I totally agree with you... but we're so not there yet. That's not cynicism, that's the reality of someone who experienced a taste of it first hand. The canary is... a trans woman teaching young children... parents are still (perhaps overly?) protective and trans women are the most objectified, pathologized and sexualized people in the GLBTQ spectrum.

I'm honestly surprised that, in Northwest Oregon, this incident happened and I'm just glad the response to it was swift and had a positive impact. But that doesn't mean squat for GLBTQ peeps teaching other populations of children, it just means there's waaay more advocacy work to be done.

wow... fired or not, he is one FINE---

And that's it? No explanation about why it was or wasn't okay to fire him in the first place or why it's okay to hire him in the second place? What, did he have a character transplant between the two events which suddenly made him an acceptable student teacher? And what are they going to do about the time he lost in the classroom which he needs to complete his requirements to graduate?