A dad has divided opinion after confronting a teacher who asked his 13-year-old son if he was gay.
Explaining on Reddit that his son was 'quirky', preferred Greek literature over sports and was a 'late bloomer', he felt these 'circumstances' it was 'very easy (for him) to be labelled as being gay'. But added that 'I am pretty sure he will be straight'.
While the teenager had endured some negative comments from peers, the dad chose to put these down to 'personality conflicts', rather than bullying.
However the teenager's teacher felt differently and took it upon himself to talk to the boy in a quiet moment to tell him people shouldn't treat him badly because 'he's different'.
"My son was very confused and his teacher asked 'Well, you're queer aren't you?'," the dad explained.
"My son came home crying over it. And the comment was made within an earshot of another kid who laughed. Now that's bullying. I emailed the teacher who quickly turned it onto me saying that he was concerned that my son wasn't getting the support at home 'if' he was 'queer' and was being bullied at school over it."
Telling the teacher his son's sexuality was 'none of his business', the dad rejected his apology and instead went to the principal, saying any concerns over bullying should have first been raised with him.
"I thought about it and decided an apology wasn't enough. There needed to be accountability and this teacher needed to be taught a lesson himself. I went to the principal who was pretty livid after spending a few days looking into the matter. She wouldn't say what the outcome was but the teacher was MIA and I heard he got suspended for a couple of days."
While the dad's quandary was whether he should have taken it to the principal, Reddit users took him to task on assuming his son's sexuality and dismissing the bullying.'
"ESH (everyone here sucks). OP is right, the son's sexuality is none of the teacher's business. But don't be so certain your son is straight. And I hope you're willing to accept and love him if he comes out later in life," said one.
"The teacher sucks the most and what he did was incredibly inappropriate. He should have found a way to signal to all potential LGBTQIA+ questioning students that he was an ally without directly confronting your son," added another.
"That said, I'm also giving you an AH (a**hole) rating, but a gentle one. You've stated that the classmates previous behaviour doesn't rise to the level of bullying, but it sounds like it did. You've also said that it's easy to 'confuse' your son as gay, and that you're pretty sure he 'will be' straight because you're his father. What? These comments suggest the tiniest hint of homophobia."
"You're more upset that the teacher called your son gay than you are that your son is being bullied. Consider giving yourself a moment of introspection to figure out where your defensiveness is really coming from," argued a third.
However some sided with the dad, saying they felt he was only trying to right the teacher's wrong.
"NTA (not the a**hole), if we are only talking about you going to the school's higher ups in order to report the teacher's inappropriate behaviour. I don't think the teacher in question had any ill intentions, but the way your son was treated was absolutely not right," said one.
"I think the teacher meant to help but in fact may have done more harm, especially if the other students may have heard. Teachers should not openly bring up a students personal or social issues in front of (or near) other people. There was definitely a better way for the teacher to handle the situation he believed your son was having," agreed another.