Two middle school teachers in Georgia have been suspended for two days for discussing a 14-year-old male student’s sexuality.
Donald Holmes and India Cornelius were suspended after it was found they told the teen, ‘Your boyfriend was cheating on you while you were away,’ after he had returned from being absent from school for one day.
The teen, who is an eight grade student at Shiloh Middle School in Snellville, has not identified with any sexuality yet, his mother, Jean Mott, told Action News 2.
The suspension, which Mott finds insufficient, was the result of a Title IX investigation conducted by the school’s Title IX coordinator.
An investigation by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission is underway to determine whether the teachers will keep their education certificates.
‘The teacher said to my son, “Your boyfriend was cheating on you while you were away,”‘ Mott said.
Mott said her son came home crying that day, after his classmates bullied him following the comments.
Audio of an exchange between one of the teachers and Mott includes the mother asking the teacher if the comment was appropriate, and the female teacher responding, ‘No, ma’am.’
Then the same voice says, ‘I want to be honest with you, I was wrong for it, OK, but…’ and then Mott can be heard saying, ‘There’s no “but!”‘
Mott described another incident when one of the teachers allegedly said to her son, ‘How many times do I have to watch you chase little boys?’ after her son had chased another male student who pushed him.
It’s not clear which teacher actually made the two statements, but the words are being attributed to both Holmes and Cornelius, both of whom Mott said apologized for doing so.
When the two brought up the teen’s sexuality in front of the entire class they crossed a line that is forbidden by Title IX, which is a federal law.
The civil rights law that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires that students at schools that receive federal funding be provided with a learning environment that is free from hostility.
Part of that law prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities at those schools.
Of the teachers, Mott said, ‘It’s who our children are supposed to turn to. Instead in this situation they initiated the bullying.
She added: ‘As a result, my son has been bullied by his peers. It is something he will never live down.’
Mott said she asked Holmes and Cornelius why they made the comments about her son’s sexuality, but they didn’t give her an answer.
The student and his mother reported the behavior on December 12.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Stephanie Haney