A substitute teacher who ranted to a class of fifth graders about her views on homosexuality, calling it a “sin,” was fired Monday by the staffing company that employed her. Kelly Services is contracted to hire substitutes for Deerfield Elementary School in Utah’s Alpine School District, where the incident took place. The week before Thanksgiving, the substitute teacher asked the students, “What are you thankful for this year?” One 11-year-old boy, whose identity is being kept private at the request of his father, Louis van Amstel, responded with, “I’m thankful that I’m finally going to be adopted by my two dads.” Students later said that the substitute told the boy, “Why on earth would you be happy about that?” adding, “That’s nothing to be thankful for.” Three girls who asked her to stop multiple times to no avail walked out of the classroom and told the principal, who then prompted the substitute’s immediate removal from the Cedar Hills school.
Van Amstel posted a video of himself on Twitter explaining the incident, which now has over 15,000 views. Van Amstel and his husband, Josh, said that administrators called them right after the episode. “It’s absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did,” he said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. “We were livid. It’s 2019 and this is a public school.” Van Amstel said that their son has already experienced two failed adoptions and the substitute’s comments caused him to worry about whether or not his adoption with the Van Amstels would be successful.