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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for August, 2011

Students of Florida’s Barfing Teacher Come Forward

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2011

Equality Florida has published comments from students of Jerry Buell, a Lake County teacher and adviser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Mount Dora High School, who was suspended two weeks ago over anti-gay remarks posted on his Facebook page. Buell returned to the classroom last week, but the controversy hasn’t died down.

A growing number of students have come forward to describe Mr. Buell’s homophobic behavior in the classroom. Brian Blaise, an honors student who graduated in 2003, described the day Mr. Buell offered his disturbing take on the issue of gays serving in the military:

“I looked up when he said he supported gays in the military, stunned by the answer. He immediately followed that comment with the statement that we should then put them on the front lines, and pull back,” Blaise said.

Another of his students recounted Mr. Buell invoking the quote “A pig in a tuxedo is still a pig” to declare his disdain for recognizing gay relationships.

Equality Florida is asking supporters to email the Lake County School Board to demand they expand the district’s anti-bullying and non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Two weeks ago, Buell was suspended for a week after reportedly posting on Facebook, “’I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up.” Since then, it was revealed that on Buell’s web page hosted on the high school’s web site, he wrote, “I try to teach and lead my students as if Lake Co. Schools had hired Jesus Christ himself.” And on his syllabus, he wrote:

I am a man of God and I try to be like Jesus every day. I teach God’s truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, ’cause I ain’t changing!

Buell’s statement on his school-hosted web page was removed and he was ordered to remove the references comparing himself to Jesus from his syllabus.

Barfing Florida Teacher Is Just Like Jesus

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2011

The resemblance is uncanny.

Jerry Buell, the Florida history and American government teacher who was suspended two weeks ago for anti-gay comments posted on his Facebook page, has been reinstated at Mount Dora High School. Buell’s lawyer said that the school district suspended him over concerns that his actions violated the separation of church and state at the taxpayer-supported public high school. Buell was suspended after writing on his Facebook page, “I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up.”

Jerry Buell returned to the classroom yesterday. School officials refused to comment on whether Buell’s actions violated the separation of church and state, saying only that it had placed a “written directive” in his personnel file. The district removed Buell’s school-hosted web page on which he had written “I try to teach and lead my students as if Lake Co. Schools had hired Jesus Christ himself.” The district also directed him to change his syllabus, which included this statement:

I am a man of God and I try to be like Jesus every day. I teach God’s truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, ’cause I ain’t changing!

Last night, Buell spoke at a rally staged by the Liberty Counsel, where he remained defiant:

Fighting back tears, he said: “I’m a social studies teacher, and I knew I what the heck I was doing. “There’s a thing in this country called the First Amendment,” he told the crowd of a few hundred. “I firmly believe in the right to express my opinions passionately.”

Anti-Gay Christian Athlete Teacher Of The Year

Jim Burroway

August 17th, 2011

Jerry Buell, a longtime Lake County, Florida American History and Government teacher, has been suspended from classroom teaching after posting on his Facebook account:

I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up.

Buell, who was voted Jerry Buell, voted Teacher of the Year last year at Mount Dora High School and serves as advisor to that school’s Fellowhip of Christian Athletes (PDF), also called same-sex marriages a “cesspool” and a sin. But don’t hold that against him because, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, he loves gay people.

It wasn’t out of hatred,” he said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “It was about the way I interpret things.”

…I’ve had kids that I’ve known that have been homosexuals,” he said. “They know that I don’t hate them. I love them.”

Okay then. Say you’re a gay kid, your “sin” makes your teacher puke and he’s tight with the jocks and some sort of God. How confident would you be walking into his classroom?

Update: Just to get a flavor of Buell’s influence among the high school jocks, this cached web page says he had to move his morning meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from his classroom because it couldn’t accommodate everyone. “We have had to move to the cafeteria because our numbers are growing like crazy!” Feel any better?