Letters To The Editor

You Spoke, We Listened

Reader Exchange

“Out At Last” from the Summer 2013 issue sparked discussion online.

Though I’m an LGBT teacher, I do think that there are professional boundaries and my love life isn’t relevant to my student’s instruction. Perhaps I am different than others, but I do not feel it is appropriate to delve into that discussion with students … That being said, I am a young teacher and try to be overly professional in my dealings with students. A day may come when I can be more relaxed, but being younger I try to always take a reserved approach.
–Submitted by Anonymous

I never had to discuss sexual orientation, or affectional orientation in my classes. I taught for 25 years. But, I can say that when I got married, it was a big deal. When I got pregnant, it was even a bigger deal. Students will find out personal things about their teachers … So, I never felt that my LGBT friends should have to hide from reality at work. … We need to teach tolerance and sometimes the children are the ones that educate their parents. We change the world one person at a time!
–Submitted by Anonymous

Readers were struck by the critical need for teachers to be social justice advocates—and by the personal and professional challenges involved.



Stories like [“Out at Last”] are thankfully becoming more common. But it is important to note that in many states, teachers can still be fired for their sexual orientation. And in states where there are legal protections against job discrimination, teachers still fear that they will be fired and the reason fabricated. Yes, we are making strides. But it is still a great personal and professional risk for teachers to be out in many places … QuERI (www.queeringeducation.org) is based in NY where there are protections, but we regularly encounter closeted teachers who are afraid to openly advocate for the well being of LGBT students and principals who fear that parents will want students moved out of gay teachers’ classrooms. It’s important for us not to fault teachers who do not feel safe being out while we celebrate that … more teachers feel they can be.
via Teaching Tolerance magazine online



Teaching Tolerance magazine offers a free subscription to all teachers …
Check it out—they also provide supplementary materials to support the articles. 5 Stars!
Mary Stevens O’Donnell
via Facebook



[On “History Class Practices Speaking Up” blog] Great story, if we could get more teachers to speak up with an appropriate voice and demeanor when they see and hear inappropriate things we would have a much better society and community. … Let’s hope that many teachers and administrators read this article and not just read it but learn from it and make an effort to be a more positive impact in the classroom.
Kevin Lewis
via Teaching Tolerance blog



Love the poster! Suggestion—Where you say “students of all religions” I would add, “or no religion.” Many students who are non-believers, and thus do not practice a religion, are being harshly harassed/bullied in school. The Student Secular Alliance has even developed “Secular Safe Zone” posters for “atheist-friendly teachers & counselors” because of the growing problems. So if you could also add “or no religion” that would cover everyone! After all, it’s all about INCLUSION. Thank you!
Anne Mardick
via Facebook

TT Responds:

You’re absolutely right. We’ve already made the change, and you can download the PDF here. For more tips on supporting secular students, check out “The Unaffiliated Unite” tolerance.org/unaffiliated-unite-story.



[In response to “Decon-structing the Female Body in the Media”] While I agree that it is important to realize the [effects] that advertising has on us all I believe we need to caution how and what we teach about the female body.

Here in America we now have an epidemic of both female and male obesity, it appears that we have tipped the scales too far in the wrong direction. The results are that there is now an increase in diabetes and other health issues, plus we have a generation who will not outlive their parents.

There needs to be a balance when it comes to self image and real health.
via Teaching Tolerance blog



Teaching Tolerance is an excellent program and should be taught at all levels and repeated frequently.
Tutu Carter
via Facebook



I have been contributing to and supporting your organization for years and am always excited to receive Teaching Tolerance anything … so I can reach out to as many places and people as possible. I’ve thought the ideology behind it has been a great one from [its] inception and applaud your success. … I also tell friends and family about you. Thank you for your continued display and role-modeling of fairness, humanity and sanity.
Laura E. Paden
via Teaching Tolerance Blog

A great poster to kick off what I hope will be a great year for all students.
Theresa Kim
via facebook

To download the poster in PDF here


Jeanne Smith
I LOVE Teaching Tolerance and spent all the years of my teaching career promoting their programs ...This is one of the finest programs in America when it comes to racial equity.


Stellar Tweet:

Rachael Frantz @OnyxSilver
@Tolerance_org Thank you for the work you do!!! Means that Martin, Malcolm, Medgar & all the others didn’t suffer &/or die in vain.


Did You Know?

About 1 in 5 teens has posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others. — bullyingstatistics.org

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Have an opinion about something you see in Teaching Tolerance magazine or on our website? Contact us or mail a letter to 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.

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