Show of support for Michigan teacher suspended for playing song - FOX 35 News Orlando

Show of support for South Lyon teacher suspended for playing song

Posted: Updated:

By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


SOUTH LYON, Mich. (WJBK) -- A South Lyon teacher was punished for playing a song in class called "Same Love" about equality, gay stereotypes and hate.  Monday, a large group upset with the district's decision showed up at a school board meeting.

"99.6 percent of the teachers in this district know how to read and follow a policy, and we had one rogue teacher and South Lyon is a bad community?  That just ticks me off to no end," South Lyon School Board member Don Beagle said at the meeting.

Tempers flared.  Members feeling unfairly attacked, calling Susan Johnson's suspension a matter of procedure.  Concern residents and former students spoke out, feeling the drastic move to suspend shows much more than that.

Adrienne McDonald presented the board with a letter supported with 178 signatures from alum, who were disgusted with the district's decision.

"It was mentioned that the song that Ms. Johnson played was controversial and that was why it shouldn't be entered into the classroom.  In education, many things are controversial," McDonald told the board.

"I'm just infuriated about the board's attitude.  They're blaming it on media. They're blaming it on everybody but themselves.  They reacted wrongly.  They reacted irrationally.  They reacted badly, and they're afraid to say they're sorry," says South Lyon parent Nancy Prenna.

After the incident, the school district issued a statement that said Johnson was suspended because she didn't follow guidelines -- filling out the proper forms and getting permission to play the song in school -- reiterated at the board meeting.

"If she would've followed the process and was approved by administration, an approved material to show in class, it could have been shown in class," said school board member Greg Downey.

But in the letter that school official gave Johnson, they specifically cited her allowance of the controversial content in class -- the gay slur, religious and political views.

This is what Johnson claims she was told by the principal even if she did fill out the proper forms.

"When I actually asked them when the form comes through next week and it has this song on it, are you going to approve it?  And Derrek said, 'No, I would not approve it.'"

The board calls it procedural, but one concerned resident felt it was anything but when Johnson was suspended before the day was done.

"What happened in the way of researching the issue before the decision was made to suspend, and what happened with facts that reversed that decision?"

Because without any explanation, the school district has decided to reinstate Johnson's pay it initially took away.  The performing arts teacher is now back to work. Her focus is on her students, she says, and the positive she hopes will come from this.

"It's amazing how many people have come out and said thank you."

The rapper and the writer of the song calls the teacher's suspension unjust and unfair, saying it's discouraging that a song about love and civil rights would lead to something like this.

  • Taryn AsherTaryn AsherMore>>

  • Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:20:50 GMT
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
  • Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:29:16 GMT
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  

  • 1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:30:13 GMT
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:51:24 GMT
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
  • Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:49:25 GMT
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
  • Michigan girl mauled by raccoon receives wave of support

    Michigan girl mauled by raccoon receives wave of support

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:26:29 GMT
    She told us all she wanted was to wear earrings -- and now she's got a lot of options. We'll show you how Charlotte is healing after surgery to replace her ear... and how you've made a difference. Her story includes a tragic accident, but also a tremendous outpouring of support. The 12-year-old girl from western Michigan who was attacked by a raccoon, shows us how the generosity of others is helping her heal. "This is all the jewelry people sent me," she said. Dozens of pairs of earrings and ...
    She told us all she wanted was to wear earrings -- and now she's got a lot of options. We'll show you how Charlotte is healing after surgery to replace her ear... and how you've made a difference. Her story includes a tragic accident, but also a tremendous outpouring of support. The 12-year-old girl from western Michigan who was attacked by a raccoon, shows us how the generosity of others is helping her heal. "This is all the jewelry people sent me," she said. Dozens of pairs of earrings and ...
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices