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Mich. Middle School Retracts Suspension of Teacher Who Played Gay-Themed Song

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Dec 6, 2012
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A Michigan middle school teacher who was suspended from her position after she played a song about being gay will be able to return to the classroom after the school’s superintendent reversed the punishment, ABC 7 reports.

On Nov. 29 the Associated Press reported that Susan Johnson, a teacher at South Lyon’s Centennial Middle School, was suspended for playing a song about being gay called, "Same Love" by rapper Macklemore. According to Fox News, a student did not agree with the song’s message and reported Johnson to the school’s officials and she was suspended without pay. But after she made national headlines, several people online came to her defense and the American Civil Liberties Union and other community members criticized the school’s officials for punishing Johnson.

"I am willing to not uphold the suspension, but the violation of the district practice regarding web-based clips and our expectations for instructions previewing materials under this will remain in writing," William Pearson, Centennial Middle School’s superintendent said in a statement, according to the Detroit News.

The teacher, however, says that even though she gets to return to work, she told ABC 7 that she still feels the incident is "hanging over me, this anxiety."

When school officials were criticized for their decision, they argued that Johnson should have asked for permission to play the song in her class. Some of the lyrics and "Same Love," are: "I might not be the same, but that’s not important/No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it."

Macklemore, a 30-year-old hip-hop artist from Seattle, commented on the incident and wrote on his blog: "It’s clear that Ms. Johnson felt bullying and ’gay bashing’ were issues that needed to be addressed, and by doing so, was punished."

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