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Teacher Accused of Putting ‘Hit’ Out on Supposed Gay Pupil

Teacher Accused of Putting ‘Hit’ Out on Supposed Gay Pupil

We’ve talked about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender kids and classroom safety before. Usually though, we’re not talking about a teacher allegedly asking one of his pupils to kill another student. Today we are.

Reports have surfaced that teacher Randolph Forde, who works at Mundy Mill’s High School, Clayton County, Georgia, took a 16-year-old teenager out of class to ask the youngster if he was gay. The word inappropriate doesn’t even seem worth using in this instance, but this incident was just the first of many.

According to the student’s lawyer, Terrence Madden, Forde then got into a verbal altercation with the student on the very next day, resulting in the teacher threatening that he would hit the boy in his “f-ing mouth”.

Then, if police reports are to be believed, the situation escalated further. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A few days later, Forde asked another student to “put a hit” on the teenager, according to a police report.

“The suspect advised to the witness that he would pay him to kill the victim,” the report states.

The teacher wrote the victim’s name on a note and showed it to another student on the school bus, the report says.

“I have no idea why teacher would want to hurt my son,” Killebrew said. “But all of it came after the teacher asked my son if he was gay. For the teacher to ask that, he had to have a motive. That’s not a random question.”

Forde, who was arrested last month on charges of making a terrorist threat and was then released on a $10,000 bond, denies the allegation. He says that he asked about the boy’s sexuality after having seen him dance “inappropriately” with another male student, and says that the “hit” request was just a joke.

He also contends that the witness is lying, and that the student’s name wasn’t written on the paper he allegedly used to indicate the victim, and that it was, in fact, blank. The student’s lawyer says says the opposite.

Forde’s attorney, Borquaye Thomas, contends that this incident arose only after the student in question received a suspension of seven days due to behavioral problems. The inference is, then, that the kid is blowing this story up out of all proportion as some form of revenge against a teacher he’s had dealings with in the past. 

Still, the teenager’s mother says that the boy was genuinely scared when he came home after finding out about the alleged “hit”.

She speaks here to the Associated Press about it:

What I find most disturbing about this case, actually, is the conduct of the school’s administration. You see, Mrs. Killebrew’s son is said to have reported Forde over the initial incident, where Forde asked about his sexuality, but the school didn’t take action.

From the CNN coverage, which includes a statement released by the boy’s attorney:

“Not only did my client report the verbal altercation and verbal threat to the vice principal of Mundy’s Mill HS, he also reported that Mr. Forde asked him outside the classroom for the inappropriate question of whether he was gay,” the statement said. “Apparently nothing was done by the school administration to either Mr. Forde or my client, because Mr. Forde was back in the classroom on October 1, as was my client.”

You can pinpoint that incident right there, and say that this is where things could have been stopped if the school had only stepped in. The school didn’t. Why?

A school-board employment hearing on the matter was set for this week. It’s been put back until after Thanksgiving.

Forde is on “paid administrative leave”. According to Forde’s lawyer, the school is recommending that the teacher be suspended without pay for a total of five days because of “inappropriate and unprofessional” conduct, and that he be made to attend training on how to interact with his students.

The school refused to corroborate that there was any serious threat made against Mrs. Killebrew’s son. The school’s final word will not be given until after the school-board hearing, though.

Put aside the ridiculous “hit” the teacher may or may not have taken out. There’s so much “He said this…”, “Well, he did this…” in this case so as to make it not even worth debating until the full facts are available.

Joke or not, there’s one thing both sides agree on, and with it there’s a smattering of anti-gay feeling bubbling away under the surface: That the teacher removed the student from class and asked if he was gay.

Why did the teacher need to know that? If a student is dancing “inappropriately” with another student – of any gender – ask him to stop. If the pupil refuses, you take appropriate steps to discipline him. You don’t threaten to hit him, and you certainly don’t threaten his life, even jokingly. And why didn’t the school respond to this immediately?

This case serves to highlight why there is a need for a federal framework to deal with issues surrounding sexuality and gay bullying in schools. Feel the same way I do?

Take Action:
Support the Safe Schools Improvement Act to stop anti-gay bullying in schools, and make sure that schools can respond appropriately to issues surrounding sexuality and gender identity. Sign the Care2 petition now.

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Photo used under Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to John Steven Fernandez.

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38 comments

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3:51PM PST on Jan 2, 2010

This is disturbing, the teacher sholudn´t be allowed back in th classroom, even if the hit-threat was a joke, clearly his anti-gay attitude is not. The exampe he´s giving the kids is terrible and even dangerous.

7:54PM PST on Dec 31, 2009

very disturbing!

11:37AM PST on Dec 2, 2009

this is why i worry about my 6 year old when hes at school.

6:38PM PST on Nov 26, 2009

unbelievably disturbing

3:12PM PST on Nov 26, 2009

Teacher's shouldn't even be allowed to ask about their sexuality. It's none of their business. If someone's being sexually overt is the only time they should interfere.

9:55AM PST on Nov 26, 2009

If this was a dispute about race or religion that piece of lowlife scum would have been out already, because it is about a students sexuality is the only reason why this guy still has a job because they are doing the same kind of discrimination that led up to Brown V. Board of Education back in the 1960s. Hate is hate and has many ugly faces.

4:49AM PST on Nov 25, 2009

what is this world coming to?

6:24AM PST on Nov 23, 2009

While there are several laws which could put the teacher behind bars for a few years, we must hold teachers to a high standard. This teacher needs to learn the error oh his ways and receive a punihsment that holds the same weight as first-degree murder. The "hit" may not have been carried out, but that doesn't mean that the teacher should receive anything less than what prison has to offer.

10:05PM PST on Nov 22, 2009

To take a hit out on a student - gay, transgendered, asexual or otherwise is not a very funny joke. I don't see why the school doesn't just fire Forde on the spot...

5:19PM PST on Nov 22, 2009

I am at a loss for words! That a teacher would do this........UGH! I am a teacher! I teach my kids respect, appreciation and understanding of differences. My kids understand that if everyone was the same we would be bland and boring! The teacher and the administration, should these allegations be proven true, should ALL be out on their collective backsides and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

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