Ky. teacher resigns after controversy over pro-LGBTQ message

Tyler Morgan was a music teacher at West Irvine Intermediate School, which teaches third through fifth grade students.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:59 AM CDT
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ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky teacher has resigned after writing a message encouraging LGBTQ students on his classroom board that read “You are free to be yourself with me.”

Tyler Morgan was a music teacher at West Irvine Intermediate School, which teaches third through fifth grade students. He posted a photo of the message on his Facebook page, WKYT reports. It included a rainbow flag, a transgender flag and rainbow colors.

“You are free to be yourself with me. You matter,” the message read.

Some parents feel Morgan’s message was inappropriate, and others did not have an issue with it. Dozens in the community said they stand behind Morgan.

Morgan noted he resigned from Estill County Schools on his own recognizance.

“I still firmly believe more work needs to be done in Kentucky, especially in Eastern Kentucky, to ensure that more resources are provided to make sure all students feel safe, secure, and seen,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Estill County Board of Education is investigating.

Superintendent Jeff Saylor said he had no problem with the statement, explaining the district must meet the needs of all students and families. He said the main issue stemmed from a conversation that took place during class.

It’s not clear what that conversation entailed, but the superintendent said it was not related to academic standards.

In a statement, Saylor wrote, “Of course, there are times that conversations may vary from that day’s lesson plan, but these conversations went far beyond the music curriculum. It is my job to make sure that parents are not surprised by these types of situations.”

The Fairness Campaign, an organization that advocates against sexual orientation and gender discrimination, feels the district mishandled the situation.

“I would not be surprised at all if the school is sued,” said Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign.

Hartman said talking about LGBTQ issues in the classroom could help students who may be struggling.

“We know that the rates of suicide, self-harm, depression, and isolation among LGBTQ kids is astronomically high,” Hartman said.

In his statement, Saylor said school counselors have been trained to offer support to students dealing with difficult circumstances.

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