It's a heartwarming pre-holiday moment: As students are about to leave for Thanksgiving break, the teacher asks them what they're thankful for. Only this time, the teacher's response was not so heartwarming. When a substitute teacher asked fifth-graders at a Utah public school the gratitude question, one boy said, per the Salt Lake Tribune, "I’m thankful that I’m finally going to be adopted by my two dads." The teacher's reply? Other students say she started with "Why on earth would you be happy about that?" and went on to say "That’s nothing to be thankful for." One of the aforementioned "two dads" is Louis van Amstel of Dancing With the Stars fame, and in a Facebook video and Twitter thread that got quite a bit of attention, he says she told students, "Two men is wrong, homosexuality is wrong." The teacher has since been fired, the New York Times reports.
Van Amstel says his son, whom he and husband Joshua met for the first time in March, didn't want "to get the teacher in trouble," but three girls in his class "asked her multiple times to stop" during what students say was a 10-minute rant. She didn't, and they eventually walked out of class to get the principal, who escorted the teacher out of the classroom. "I’m proud of those three girls and Daniel’s school for standing up for our family against this bully," Van Amstel writes in the caption accompanying the video. In an interview with the Times, he adds, "It shouldn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bisexual, black and white. If you’re adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life." (Read more LGBTQ stories.)