Teacher suspended for playing song about growing up gay

SOUTH LYON (WXYZ) - A South Lyon teacher at Centennial Middle School was suspended for three days for playing a song to students about growing up gay.

The song, ‘Same Love' by artist Ben Maclemore was brought to her attention by a student.

After learning the song had no profanity, she played the song for her class.  The teacher, Susan Johnson, wanted to use it to teach kids about diversity.

Another student was reportedly offended and told the principal. Johnson was suspended for three days without pay.

"She's a wonderful teacher I think she should have her job," said school custodian Bridget Kozlowski.  "She should be able to come back and continue what she does and that's teach.

A lot of people have rallied behind Johnson. A Facebook page has been set up by a former student.

"A lot of people get bullied for what they believe and some people that are gay get bullied a lot.  So I don't think that's right," said Alex Cristin. 

Cristin is a former student at the middle school and created the Facebook page.

"I don't think she should have gotten suspended," said middle school student Alexandria Lane.  "I think  it was wrong and that it wasn't that big of a deal. She didn't mean any harm by it."

Now the ACLU is involved. They will be filing a Freedom Of Information Act request, also known as a FOIA request to the district.

They want information to see if any of Johnson's rights were violated. The ACLU is interested in knowing if any teachers in the past were punished for similar cases.

If other teachers in the past had similar cases, the ACLU wants to know how the teachers were punished.

"It's unfortunate about how this incident is played out," said Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Department.  "It's important that the school district comes out with a strong message that they are inclusive of all students including LGBT students. I think regardless of what the policy says concerning taped materials."

The FOIA request will be filed over the next few days.

Johnson is now back to work at the middle school.

7 Action New called the district's superintendent several times and left messages and has received no comments.

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