Why We Die: Oregon Student Teacher Fired For Being Gay

Remember the fourth grade? That’s about nine or ten years old, right? That’s the year I finally figured out what made me different from the other kids. (Not coincidentally, it’s also about the time that Greg Louganis was all over the TV in his speedo. But I digress.) It’s an extremely sensitive time for an LGBT kid.

Imagine you’re that nine-year-old kid and you overhear this conversation the teacher is having with another student:

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/seth-stambaugh-opb-the-conversation.mp3″ text=”The conversation.”]

It was during a journaling activity and a student asked me if I was married, and I replied that I was not married because it is illegal. And he asked why and asked if it was because I was not old enough. And I sort of chuckled at that point said no, it would be because I would choose to marry another man and that’s illegal in the state of Oregon. And he said “Oh, so you just like to hang out with other guys, then?” I said, “Yep,” and that was the end of the conversation and he went back to his journaling activity.

And for the first time, there’s a ray of hope in your world. It’s not that all of the fear you’d been building up suddenly disappears, but now there’s a positive role model, an adult you already have a relationship with who might be Just Like You. All might not be lost. Can you imagine that? How good that would feel?

Then the next day, he’s gone. Just…gone. The other teacher doesn’t tell you why (he doesn’t tell your parents, either), but let’s face it, you’re ten. You can put two and two together, and you know that he disappeared from the world because he was Just Like You. Can you imagine how that would feel?

Harder question: Can you imagine how afraid you would be that the same thing would happen if they found out about you?

Students in Beaverton, Oregon don’t have to imagine it, because that’s exactly what happened in Seth Stambaugh’s fourth grade class at Sexton Mountain Elementary School.

Seth Stambaugh, fired for being gay
Seth Stambaugh, fired for being gay

Oregon Public Broadcasting‘s Emily Harris had the story on her program Think Out Loud. The broadcast is about 40 minutes long, but it’s something you need to hear. Stambaugh’s attorney is on hand, as are two parents of kids in Stambaugh’s (former) class. Special incentive: Dan Savage is interviewed alongside a stone cold bigot. I’m not even kidding about that last one.

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/seth-stambaugh-opb.mp3″ text=”Full Oregon Public Broadcasting interview”]

It’s a tragic story, and so frustrating. According to the Portland Mercury, the school is sticking to its guns while attempting to shift blame.

Beaverton School District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler stresses that Stambaugh was never technically an employee of the school district, since he was working through Lewis and Clark, and therefore it’s not accurate to say he was “fired.” “It’s not an employee issue, we requested a change of placement for this teacher,” says Wheeler. Lewis and Clark, she explains, made the final call on what would happen to Stambaugh.

Lewis and Clark spokeswoman Jodi Heintz says there’s a “discrepancy” in Beaverton School District’s characterization of the incident. “We categorically deny that we had the final call on what happened with Seth,” says Heintz. Instead, Lewis and Clark received a phone call that Stambaugh had been removed from the school. Usually when there is a conflict between a student teacher and a school, someone from Lewis and Clark sits down and talks it out with the school. In this case, there was no discussion, says Heintz. “The fact that we were completely cut out of the process was an aberration,” she says.

In the last two days, another two LGBT teen suicides have come to light, bringing my unofficial tally to eight in four weeks. None of those suicides happened simply because of the last abuser the victim faced. No, the suicides were the product of a lifetime of fear, self-loathing, and unnecessary shame brought on slowly but continuously by events such as Seth Stambaugh’s firing.

I can only pray that in another few years we don’t hear of a suicide in Beaverton, Oregon, but that’s exactly what this kind of psychological warfare produces.

And no, I’m not being dramatic.

UPDATE: In the cruelest of ironies, the front page of Beaverton School District’s website currently features a suicide prevention PSA.



7 thoughts on “Why We Die: Oregon Student Teacher Fired For Being Gay

  1. If he was going to discuss homosexuality with his students, then he should have told them the truth about this sad and dangerous lifestyle:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released startling statistics on the rates of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men.

    The CDC report, released to coincide with the third annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Monday, Sept. 27, details its most recent study of men who have sex with men (MSM) in 21 major American cities.

    The CDC found nearly one in five gay/bi men were infected with HIV. Forty-four percent didn’t know they had the virus.

    [ ]
    To find out why gay/bi men continue to have such high HIV infection rates three decades into the epidemic, EDGE interviewed Michael Shankle, director of the MALE (Men’s Action Life Empowerment) Center, part of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.

    [Shankle] also pointed to the level of substance abuse, which “in some respect can be seen as a community norm,” …

    “Almost 60 percent of new infections in this country are among MSM,” he pointed out. “That’s a huge number when you realize that gay men represent only two percent of the population.”


    1. That study has been widely misinterpreted, even according to the study’s author. For a complete refutation, go here. To begin with, “these findings are limited to men who frequented MSM-identified venues (most of which were bars [45%] and dance clubs [22%]) during the survey period in 21 [metropolitan statistical areas] with high AIDS prevalence; the results are not representative of all MSM. A lower HIV prevalence (11.8%) has been reported among MSM in the general U.S. population.”

      Secondly, your comment is not relevant to this post. Don’t do that.

      1. Gays are a pack of disease ridden mentally ill self hating progressive scum engaged in a radical homosexual agenda. The gays kill themselves more often, they have disease more often, a lower life expectancy and are more perverted as a group. I will keep my kids any myself away from the diseased dangerous rats any way I can. Keep it in the closet, no one cares, try to use this as a battle cry for an oligarchical collectivist PC nightmare thought police state, and expect WAR. I’m not going to have my thoughts policed by the radical gay agenda.

  2. He was not fired because he was gay… he was fired because it’s not appropriate for teachers, student or otherwise to discuss their private sexual practices with fourth-graders! Don’t you get it? These are children in the fourth grade… that makes them under 10 years old, 8 or 9 yr olds. Why in the world would anybody whether they are gay or straight have that conversation with an eight or nine-year-old at school? I’m appalled that he has tried to make this into something to do with his poor choice of sexual partners and not about his inappropriate comments regarding his sex life to fourth-graders !!

      1. Radical self hating homosexuals trying desperately to get them accepted as normal. These rats now are trying to guilt trip the next generation with their disease ridden perversions while indoctrinating them to progressive ideology. Destroy the church, destroy god, destroy morality, man is god, its Fabian socialism and national socialism starting all over again. Funny how a lot of the Nazi SA organization was self loathing closet homosexuals as well. And now the radical homosexuals as an identity politics sad self hating tool for the progressives are indoctrinating the kids to homosexuality – two men can’t marry. They have a garriage maybe, make a new word for this sickness / mental illness, but they can never marry and will rot in hell for this disgusting perversion, we were sent here to procreate, both biologically and on the orders of God, and here they are, saying they are normal to kids. Keep it in the closet and up each other’s butts and enjoy that messy form of vile relations, and nobody cares, come talking about love and greased up same-sex fornication to our kids, expect WAR bastards.

    1. i assume then that all straight married teachers will remove their wedding bands at the school doors, never discuss their spouses or children, and hide and family pictures.  i mean, why should students so young be exposed to the horrible heterosexual lifestyle that leads statistics in divorce, spousal abuse, and child molestation?  

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