Tom Leahy, who used to teach social studies at Conway Springs Middle School since 1997, was forced to resign for showing Love Is All You Need. The 19-minute graphic anti-bullying film depicts a society in which homosexuality is the norm, and a young heterosexual girl is bullied to the point of committing suicide.
Leahy showed the film to three eighth-grade history classes after some of his students, aged 13 to 14, demonstrated disturbing anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behavior during a class exercise, in which students were asked to draw up a bill of rights for their fictional “colony.”
Leahy told The Wichita Eagle:
“I was expecting fairly positive kinds of colonies: ‘Do things we think are right, and be nice’. But it just kind of got twisted around, and it became a place where certain people weren’t allowed. Then the issue of gay versus straight came up, and a lot of them were not allowing gays into their colony and stuff like that… There were some hard feelings. Kids were getting upset.”
After Leahy showed the hugely popular anti-bullying short film [above] that went viral in 2011, the parents – upset by the film’s graphic end, and by a scene showing a female church leader addressing a Catholic congregation – complained to the school principal and superintendent. While Leahy expected the film to upset some parents and students (but also create discussions), he didn’t expect he would be asked to resign.
“Yeah, it was a little rough. I get it. But shoot, these kids play video games that are decapitating people…There are people who don’t want their children in my classroom. I thought that I’d take a little time off and then come back, and people would cool their heels and everything would be better. That didn’t happen… I don’t hold grudges against anybody. I think it got out of hand, and the people in charge had to do what they had to do. I’m just – I don’t know what the word is – sad, disappointed.”
Leahy neither sought the school principal’s permission, nor did he inform the parents before showing the film. He explained his motive behind the sudden move:
“I didn’t want just a dorky little film. I wanted something that was important, something that was serious. So that’s the one I came up with. I’m not saying what I did was very smart. It really wasn’t. But I’m a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy, and it seemed right at the time.”
On being contacted by The Wichita Eagle, superintendent Clay Murphy said he couldn’t comment directly because it was a personnel matter.
“In these situations, there’s no winners. We all lose. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. You’ve got two divided sides, and you can’t please everybody.”
UPDATE: Leahy is back in the classroom. A statement from Conway Springs school officials read:
“The school district and Mr. Leahy agreed that he would be on leave for 10 days from the classroom. During this leave, both sides consulted legal counsel and facts were gathered and rumors were eliminated to make sure all information was available prior to making any decisions. Mr. Leahy has stated that he knew the film might be controversial and has agreed that he should have checked with the administration prior to showing the film. He also agrees that some of his comments made in the classroom after the film added to the controversy.”
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Oddly enough, this was the same type of analogy I’ve used to *try* to help those understand the stress and anxiety associated with those who want to come out and those being persecuted for their sexual preference.
Hits close to home since my son is gay and he held onto that secret until he was 18, even those he said he knew around the age of 5 or so. I was heartbroken that he felt he couldn’t tell me. I’ve always taught them to be accepting of gender preferences, but he was still very guarded about it.
The issue is simply that every human being is bi-sexual, or bi-curious, or basically we are all sluts that will take advantage of any sexual opportunity. This is a terrifying truth to those establishments that seek to rule the world and contain humanity as their slaves, like religion ANY type of sexual activity that can not produce a baby that will thus be indoctrinated by the common delusion of religion is out right banned by religion. Then we all struggle as slaves or act in defiance by being “gay” I don’t know of one gay dude that ever turned down some split tail. I don’t know one chick that wouldn’t flip her script if she was barely drunk and wouldn’t get caught carpet munching. It is the institutions that supress humanity that we struggle with. You take those away, and everyone is “gay”
I think all kids should watch this video and maybe then we would have a drop in suicide rates. Kids need to be educated that bullying is not acceptable and to have empathy. I honestly believe that any church forcing their beliefs on all americans should be sanctioned and prevented from any interaction with the government. Just because you do not agree with someone’s way of living does not give you the right to demand conformity to your ideals. I will say from a mountain top or on any sight that religious organizations should never have power to influence government decisions. How does it make sense to force one set of beliefs on all people who do not believe the same things. Is that not what North America was originally sought out for was for religious freedom. Yet here we are persecuting a set of individuals that are not considered normal. Who is next? Will it be me who is disabled or will it be you for wearing something someone with power does not like. I believe as United States citizens we should try not to repeat our mistakes. Yet here we are doing that with Homosexuals just because a little book says it is a sin and yet not everyone believes in that little story book.