Monkeypox, Madison Cawthorn + More News

World Health Organization officials say the outbreak of the monkeypox virus in North America and Europe is primarily spreading through sex among men with about 200 cases across at least a dozen countries. WHO officials emphasized, however, that anyone can contract monkeypox.
(stock photo of man with monkeypox via Depositphotos)

Some news items you might have missed:

NBC New York: World Health Organization officials say the outbreak of the monkeypox virus in North America and Europe is primarily spreading through sex among men with about 200 cases across at least a dozen countries. WHO officials emphasized, however, that anyone can contract monkeypox. Continue reading “Monkeypox, Madison Cawthorn + More News”

Teachers’ Homophobic Chat Left Open During High School Zoom Class

(image via

Some high school teachers in New Jersey are in hot water after sharp-eyed students noticed (and screen captured) a homophobic chat among educators left open on a science teacher’s desktop during a Zoom class.


In a group chat dated Wednesday, Dumont High School teachers appear to bash the sexual orientation and lifestyle of one of their co-workers.

“Why is that kid with the gay gym teacher?” asks one, according to a screenshot of the chat posted online.

“Is that her adopted kid? Who is gonna be all f—-d up growing up watching 2 chicks kissing and calling them both mom,” says another, according to the screenshot.

Dumont Mayor Andrew LaBruno said Wednesday the comments were made between Dumont High School teachers during a group chat while the Zoom class was taking place. Someone captured the chat and shared it with others, the mayor said.

In a statement posted to Facebook, LaBruno called the comments “disturbing and extremely appalling” and said he is calling on schools Superintendent Emanuele Triggiano to investigate the matter.

A petition at calling for the homophobic teachers’ resignations has more than 18,000 signatures at this writing.

News Round-Up: July 21, 2020

L-R Billy Eichner, the late Paul Lynde (via Back2Stonewall)

Some news items you might have missed:

Back2Stonewall: Out actor-comedian Billy Eichner is set to play TV icon Paul Lynde in the upcoming biopic Man in the Box. While Lynde never officially “out,” his sexuality was well-known in front of and behind the camera throughout a run on television beginning in the ’50s up until his death in 1982.

KOMO: The cast and creators of the Emmy-nominated cult HBO classic The Comeback will reunite on July 21 as part of the Stars In the House daily live-streamed series. The show’s creator and star Lisa Kudrow will be on board to chat on the satirical reality show that followed one woman’s journey as a B-list sitcom actress trying to reclaim A-list status via reality TV. Hot hubby Michael and I loved the series – Kudrow was brilliant walking the fine line of reality/scripted TV.

ABC News: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed Tuesday morning that Senate Republicans plan to support another round of stimulus checks to Americans in their next coronavirus relief proposal. This time around, however, Republicans would like to lower the income threshold to qualify. The cap on payments in the first CARES bill was $99,000.

NPR: Teachers in Florida are suing the state to block an emergency order requiring schools to open next month with in-person instruction. They say, with the surge of coronavirus cases, the order violates a provision in Florida’s constitution requiring the state to ensure schools are operated safely.

BroBible: A teen employee at a Lowe’s store in Washington, Kyle Sales, was forced to change his tee-shirt reading “Black Panther Wakanda Forever” after a ‘Karen’ complained the shirt was racist. After the exchange, Sales went home and put a jersey over his Black Panther movie shirt. The next day, ‘Karen’ returned demanding to know how Sales was punished.

Boy Culture: Donald Trump, at his daily coronavirus presser, was asked about Ghislaine Maxwell — perhaps you’ve heard of her? The lady accused of running a child-sex ring for Jeffrey Epstein, who died on Trump’s watch? Yeah, he said — twice — “I wish her well.”

Teacher Fired For Sharing He’s Gay With High School Students

Dr. Josh Hamilton (screen capture)

Dr. Josh Hamilton teaches professional communications and college readiness at Grapevine High School near Fort Worth, Texas.

He is also the coach for the school’s competitive speech team that won state and national championships last year.

But the school district he works for recently fired him saying he texted inappropriate messages to a student. Hamilton says the trouble started the day after he mentioned being gay to his speech team.

During preparation on September 5, 2019, for an upcoming oral interpretation tournament, Hamilton felt his team was distracted by personal issues instead of the topic at hand.

“Guys, I get it,” Hamilton told the students in an attempt to motivate them. “We all have something going on. Heck, you all watched me struggle last year with my mental health and met me this year on the other side as a happy, open and honest gay man.”

“So, I get it life is hard,” added the PhD. “Let’s put that to the side and get our work done.”

The next day he was called into Human Resources where he says he was asked about his communication with students, did he text them, and what was the content?

Hamilton said he did text some students as the team coach and in the context that one of the students handled babysitting chores for him.

Finally, the HR representative asked, “Josh, have you told the students anything about your personal life changes in the last month?”

Hamilton says his response was as straight-forward as he could make it.

“Are you asking if the kids know that I am gay?” he told the representative. “Sure, just like they know that I was married, I have kids and travel each day from Fort Worth, sure they do its part of my life.”

He was placed on administrative leave at that time pending an investigation into whether he ‘shared too much information’ with his students.

That was a Friday. On Monday, he was told by the HR persona, “Josh, we have done our investigation and decided we are no longer going to continue employment.”

Hamilton says he was given no due process nor provided with any evidence.

When he asked to see the text messages the school insisted he was being dismissed for, he was told, “No, we need to protect the privacy of the student.”

After hiring a lawyer, who asked for the text messages in question to be forwarded pending legal action, the school stopped communicating.

A few days later, he was finally allowed to review the text messages that the school says are the basis for his firing.

The messages were with a student who regularly took care of Hamilton’s young son, Jackson.

Hamilton says the topics in the 8 text messages ranged from his son to separating from his wife to his new dating life. The instructor says the student was babysitting when he would go on dates, so the issue came up.

“If we’re going to fire a teacher for texting a kid, we’re going to fire a lot of teachers in Texas,” Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

And he insists none of the messages have ever been inappropriate.

The student’s parents didn’t see it that way.

At a meeting this week of the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, board members voted unanimously to fire Hamilton due to the District’s policy on texting students.

During the meeting, Human Resources executive director Gema Padgett said, “Dr. Hamilton violated the standards by developing inappropriate relationships with students, providing inappropriate information to the students concerning his personal life, through text messages, treating students as family members or close friends and providing inappropriate personal information to the students.”

Hamilton told the local NBC News affiliate NBC DFW, “Sitting in the board room and hearing her use the word inappropriate, inappropriate, inappropriate painted me to the public as a child predator. This has been the worst experience of my life.”

But the school district, contending Hamilton’s firing was not because he is gay, issued this statement:

“Mr. Hamilton has been proposed for termination for good cause due to violations of the District’s electronic communications policy, violations of student privacy, failure to follow written directives, and violations of the Texas Educator’s Code of Ethics. In GCISD, we hold all employees to high standards for their interactions with our most important people, our students. His conduct is not acceptable for an educator in GCISD.”

Hamilton plans to appeal the decision to the Texas Education Agency, which would provide a due process hearing. He says he hopes to retain his teaching position.

The state of Texas has no legal protections on the books prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace.

(source: NBC DFW)

My Favorite Thing Today: Rhode Island’s Teacher Of The Year W/ President Trump & First Lady

Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year, Nikos Giannopolous (above), shared his thoughts on meeting the president and First Lady on his Facebook page.

On Wednesday, when I met the president as Rhode Island’s State Teacher of the Year, I did not know what to expect. After a lengthy security process, we were welcomed into the Roosevelt Room where we each met Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Shortly thereafter, we walked into the Oval Office. The man seated at the desk read prepared remarks from a sheet of paper and made some comments about CEOs and which states he “loved” based on electoral votes that he had secured.

He did not rise from his seat to present the National Teacher of the Year with her much deserved award nor did he allow her to speak. We returned to the Roosevelt Room and one by one got a photo with him and his wife. After what amounted to a brief photo op, we were ushered out of the West Wing and back onto the streets of DC.

For my trip to the White House, I wore a rainbow pin to represent my gratitude for the LGBTQ community that has taught me to be proud, bold, and empowered by my identity – even when circumstances make that difficult. I wore a blue jacket with a bold print and carried a black lace fan to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity. I wore an anchor necklace in honor of the State of Rhode Island whose motto “Hope” was inspired by Hebrews 6:19 – “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” These words are as relevant now they were when our founding father Roger Williams was inspired by them over 350 years ago.

In previous years, state teachers of the year were given the opportunity to speak to the president for a few minutes each. Had I been given the opportunity, I would have told him that the pride I feel as an American comes from my freedom to be open and honest about who I am and who I love.

I would have told him that queer lives matter and anti-LGBTQ policies have a body count. Taking pride in queer identity means rejecting the shame imposed upon us by a harsh society. It means opening yourself up to a lifetime of criticism and misunderstanding, but knowing that it’s worth it to be able to live authentically.

Each and every queer person has been confronted with cruelty in ways many cannot imagine – verbal and physical abuse from strangers, friends, & even family; politicians callously attacking on our right to love or merely exist in public spaces; legalized discrimination for daring to be who we are. Brutality is a universal part of the queer experience.

I am one of the fortunate ones. I have been able to share the last ten years of my life with my partner who understands me better than anyone in the world. I have a mother who always allowed me to be myself, highlighting my best qualities, and building up my confidence as a shield to any bigotry I may encounter. I have a sister, brother, father, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law who have accepted, celebrated, and loved me unconditionally for my whole life. I have a chosen family of queer friends and loved ones with whom I have formed deep and supportive relationships that will last a lifetime.

There’s more at the link.

National Education Association Responds To Trump Administration Rolling Back Transgender Protections

Lily Eskelsen García, president of The National Education Association, which is represents more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, issued this statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to rescind guidance protecting transgender students’ use of public bathrooms in schools:

Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our public schools. This is our legal, ethical and moral obligation. The Trump administration’s plans to reverse protections for transgender students by rescinding the Title IX guidance, is dangerous, ill-advised, and unnecessary.

We reject this discriminatory plan because it is a drastic departure from our core values. We don’t teach hate, we do not tell people how to pray, and we do not discriminate against people based on their religion, gender, or identity. Period.

As the Trump administration threatens our students and our values, we will double-down on our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including our LGBTQ students and members. We urge more states, school districts, and schools to adopt protections for transgender students. We owe to our students because they need to see us take a bold stand against discrimination whatever form it takes.