Alex Blaze

Parent who got teacher fired doesn't want to be famous

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 06, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

Aaron Krikava, the parent who complained about Seth Stambaugh (the student teacher who came out to a fourth grader, lost his job, and then got it back), has pulled seth-stambaugh.jpghis son out of Stambaugh's class. Honestly, I can't blame him - it's awkward to send your kid to school to work with a teacher you tried to get fired because you were concerned your kid might not grow up to be a homophobe.

Here's the parent's explanation:

"We have been called every name under the sun. We are not bigots, homophobes, or religious fanatics," wrote the parent, Aaron Krikava, in the email that was forwarded to me by one of the numerous parents who received it. "What began as a simple event of a responsible parent expressing a valid concern quickly turned into an opportunity to push a political agenda."

Krikava goes on to say that the family felt "threatened" by a phone conversation Stambaugh's pro bono attorney, Lake Perriguey, had with the student's mother, Allison. Krikava writes that Perriguey told the mother that if the family did not ask the district to reinstate Stambaugh, "he may not be able to continue to keep our names, and our phone numbers, including our sons, out of the press."

If Stambaugh had taken legal action, then it actually would have been hard to keep the original complainants' names secret. I don't see how they get to get someone fired, put a black mark on his name (or at least try to), put him in the national media spotlight, and then complain when people find out who they are.

Perhaps, if you want to keep your name private, you shouldn't try to get people fired?

I do agree, though, that it wasn't ultimately these parents' fault. The school administration should have explained that gay teachers are held to the same standards as straight teachers when it comes to sharing personal information, and straight teachers have been talking about their husbands and wives and kids for generations, not instantly caved and fired the guy without even discussing the situation with him. More importantly, they should also have a real policy when it comes to personal information if they plan to fire people based on individual statements taken out of context.

But the parents do have a lot of power in these situations and administrators are loathe to get parents mad at them, especially when it comes to a student teacher who has no rights, isn't on payroll, and has no contract with the school. They err conservative for that reason - parents on the conservative side of any particular issue are more likely to make a stink out of something than parents on the liberal side.

This case is a good example: the parents even got mad that their name might be trotted out so they sent out a mass email with their name attached to it! These aren't the type of people who take no for an answer.

On another note, Queerty took the high road with this story and put Krikava's name right in the title of their post, making it the first thing that appears when googling Aaron Krikava's name, along with a photo taken from his MySpace. This incident is also the first thing that pops up when googling Stambaugh's name.

Krikava wouldn't have been worried about keeping his name a secret if he had caught Stambaugh doing something actually inappropriate. He would have been a local hero, not a villain. The fact that these folks are starting to feel more and more ashamed shows progress of a sort.

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I can understand concern or lack of knowledge but when you take things to such levels it is purely from a point of disdain, not reason.

True parental concern would be about the child not the pressing of an agenda.

I'd keep a tight reign on what my child was being taught in a public school, if I didn't have the money to send her to private school. A parent does not relinquish primary responsibility for a child's upbringing just because they send them to public school. I would not even consider just surrendering my child to the school to do with as the teachers wished.

That said, I'm not sure what the Krikvas said to the school, whether they even asked that the school dismiss the student teacher.

What the school did made national headlines, but that does not make the parents, or the child, public figures.

Subjecting them to public ridicule, saying things like "'s awkward to send your kid to school to work with a teacher you tried to get fired because you were concerned your kid might not grow up to be a homophobe" is public rididicule, in favor of a political agenda.

bigolpoofter | November 6, 2010 5:08 PM

Quite to the contrary, "saying things like ''s awkward to send your kid to school to work with a teacher you tried to get fired because you were concerned your kid might not grow up to be a homophobe'" is simply stating a fact, not pressing an agenda.

What? I was taking the parents' side there, when several other sites covering this story didn't. I was saying that it's perfectly normal for them to pull their child out of that class.

Anyway, two responses:

1. Pushing a political agenda (gay people shouldn't be allowed to teach in elementary schools) by negatively and concretely impacting many people's lives (the students who would be denied gay teachers, the gay teachers themselves who would be held to a different standard, the reproduction of homophobia), all his choices put him in the spotlight. Even then, people protected his name until he sent out a rant to people who obviously weren't his close friends.

Could one argue that being a bank robber doesn't make one a public figure? Perhaps. But a bank robber will still make the news whether they want to or not.

2. Why didn't you include Stambaugh on your list - is it OK to use public ridicule to push a political agenda when it's conservative ridicule and a conservative agenda? He didn't necessarily want national attention either, but he was fired without even being consulted. If anyone here didn't have a choice, it was him, but no one seems to care about him or his career, just the parent's and their ability to secretly push their agenda on the rest of us.

Aaron Krikava is a homophobe... oh yes, and a prick.

Parents have a total right to request their children be in a different classroom if they aren't comfortable with their child's teacher. But for Krikava to try and pretend he's in any way the "victim" in this case is jerkdom to the max. He was the one who encouraged his son to ask the personal question of Mr. Stambaugh because he knew what the answer would be and he knew what he was going to do about it when his son got that answer. He was going to try and torture a young gay student teacher. Good way to model bullying for his son.

So, basically, when I Google the word "prick" or "dick"... it's Mr. Krikava's name which will rightly first appear... my apologies to the male sexual organ.

How and when did Mr. Krikava try to get Mr. Stambaugh fired? The first reports said that "a parent" had complained when Mr. Stambaugh told the class he was gay, on National Coming Out Day.
Then the story was that he had answered one student's simple question, briefly and truthfully, and the school system fired Mr. Stambaugh. Now Krikava supposedly encouraged his son to ask, so he -- the father -- could make a fuss about the answer.

Is there a shred of evidence that Mr. Krikava actually did all this, and then called and demanded the teacher's termination, and that the administration had a "Yes, sir! Right away, sir!" knee-jerk reaction???

I worked for a Board of Education for many years, and know just how seriously parental concerns are taken, but on the basis of what he is alleged to have done, an instant pink slip is extraordinary.

Leigh Anne... having worked in education (as have I), then you would understand that he was a STUDENT TEACHER. Student teachers don't get pink slips. They can be moved, be re-assigned and terminated in the blink of an eye. He wasn't the member of a union, nor did he have any tenure or employment seniority.

The evidence that Krikava did this is the email that he sent out. I haven't seen the email, but I have no reason to believe the Portland Mercury just made it up.

In the Statist-LGBT Utopia all people must conform to the "I love everyone equally and have no controversial opinions diverging from politically-correct dogma whatsoever"

You see if a parent dare express that they take issue with something a teacher says which is WHOLLY UNRELATED to the academic function of a government school...why they must be a bigot racist evil-doer who dared hold an "unenlightened" view of humanity.

Burn them at the stake! Burn the heretic! Burn Him!

I swear to FSM, perhaps if we as queers just lived our lives without taking offense at every single instance of an individual not conforming to the official "Alex Blaze Approved" definition of "tolerance" life might just be well, life. - OMG what a concept.

But that would require putting down the violin and ending the pity-party, which is doubtful, because where is all the good drama in that?

LOL. Thank goddess I'm not in charge of picking the comment of the week, b/c I would be the only person to get the joke each time. I love it!

Sadly the only joke here is how your entire philosophy regardless of issue, requires the use of force in order to function.

Use of force? I'm really not following. I wasn't asking anyone to beat up Krikava.

This desire to publically humiliate comes awfully close to bullying.
One day it will end very badly, perhaps hurting more than the accused homophobe.

The parent has every right to act like an ass. And since it's a public school, we have every rit to know what the parent is up to since it affects our kids.

Ultimate responsibility lies with the school, however. Their job is to protect both students & faculty and they failed miserably in this regard.

Hypothetical title alert:
Was "Infamous" the subconscious word that was really meant?

Regan DuCasse | November 7, 2010 2:33 PM

Let's not forget how many people would still resurrect the Briggs initiative in CA if they could. How much of Prop. 8 supporters swayed voters by using schoolchildren as victims of gay recruiting in schools.

In other states, it's not surprising that a parent would have a knee jerk reaction to finding out there was a gay teacher in their child's school, regardless of how exemplary that teacher.

That doesn't make them right. I'm not against parents being a strong part of the value of their child's education and success in that school.
But seriously, I haven't seen such reactions since integration was on the national agenda in decades before.

Parents themselves can be inexcusably ignorant and hysterical and a parent like that can cause serious damage because of it.
This shouldn't be allowed either.

I think that a parent, who has a child in whatever district, should be required to take a seminar course on the very things they have prejudices, questions or misinformation about.
If that's sexuality, then fine.
If it's on sex ed, there too.

Parents are entitled to a refresher education on what's new, what's important for their child's well rounded preparation for the real world.
Indulging a parent's fears, and bigotry, gets nothing in the way of progress.
Certainly the incidents of bullying are part of that.

And what committed parent would reject some education for themselves so that they are well informed and can help their child process everything they need to?
If knowledge is power, and knowledge is the center of a good education.
Then how can a parent support the legacies of ignorance?
On any level?
Parents should also try to get to know their children's teachers on a personal level and engage them as much as possible.
Instead of having such a reaction without that experience first.

Seriously, what school SHOULD be compelled to indulge something that's negative in this way?

The world doesn't have a right to be part of the discussion between a parent and a school, public or not. Even if a parent isn't comfortable with a gay male teacher teaching his young child. There is no real danger, and that should have been pointed out to the parent. This would have been a great time to be reasonable.

(And I was obviously using the term pink slip as a euphemism, Ginasf. Feel free to criticise my spelling next.)

Calling somebody a homophobe -- or an idiot -- does nothing to further the education process.

Here I agree with Alex:

"I do agree, though, that it wasn't ultimately these parents' fault. The school administration should have explained that gay teachers are held to the same standards as straight teachers when it comes to sharing personal information, and straight teachers have been talking about their husbands and wives and kids for generations, not instantly caved and fired the guy without even discussing the situation with him."

So now we all know the family's name. Ha, ha.

And most of us have forgotten the difference between hatred and fear. A loss to the language.

Regan DuCasse | November 9, 2010 12:29 PM

Considering how many straight FEMALE teachers have been found to be sexually involved with their male charges, you'd think the nation would get real about being careful with women and middle to high school aged boys.

No one suggested an outright ban on teachers like that.
Nor do parents get hysterical when they find out a woman is teaching their boys.
Even AFTER the real criminal revelation of such situations is known, that woman doesn't get what she deserves.
The equivalence of parental hysteria NEVER occurs like it does with gay teachers.
Regardless of the evidence of what adults actually ARE a danger to children.

The double standards are actually very stupid and no parent or school should get away with it.