The 11-year-old son of Dancing With the Stars’ Louis van Amstel was publicly shamed by a school teacher for having two dads. A simple Thanksgiving lesson went wrong when he was faced with a teacher who had some strong anti-gay views.
Daniel was attending Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah, when he was asked by a substitute teacher, along with the rest of the students, to share what they were grateful for in a pre-thanksgiving exercise. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that while many students gave light-hearted answers about food or not having school, Daniel gave a more serious response to the question. According to van Amstel, who shared the story on social media, his son spoke from the heart when he said he was grateful he was “finally going to be adopted by my two dads”. It was a sweet moment turned ugly when the teacher, as reported by The Tribune, responded by asking why on earth he would be happy about that. According to students, this led to a rant wherein she expressed her personal views, including the fact that “homosexuality is wrong” and “two men living together is a sin.” She even reportedly looked at the 11-year-old and told him that was nothing to be thankful for. When she failed to stop at the request of three female classmates, the girls left the room to get the principal.
The teacher was escorted from the school and, according to van Amstel, attempted to blame their son for her outburst as she was being escorted out . She was later fired by both the school and the staffing company that placed her there. At first, Louis and Josh said their son didn’t want to speak up for fear of getting the teacher in trouble. Even more heartbreaking is that after having been through multiple failed adoptions, the young boy was also worried about the incident impacting the ongoing adoption. According to van Amstel, “He was so fearful that this could make us think that we don’t want to adopt him.” The reality star expressed his gratitude to the three girls who stepped in, saying, “Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support.” Neighbors showed an outpouring of support for the family, even decorating their home with hearts, stating their love and support, but the pain caused by the teacher isn’t forgotten. In talking about it, van Amstel said “…this situation really hurt him. This person really hurt us.”
Fans are taking to social media to express their support, as well as gratitude, to the school for doing the right thing. For many, it is hard to understand how, regardless of one’s personal opinions, someone in a chosen profession to nurture and educate children would find this behavior acceptable. While love and acceptance of everyone should be the norm, and political and religious views should not be brought into a school setting, it isn’t always the case. Despite that, there is a hopeful message that seems to be emerging from this awful interaction. It seems, while there are many varied opinions on the subject of gay couples adopting, the one thing everyone agrees on is that no one should be using their personal views to mock, bully, or humiliate a child.
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