Teacher Allegedly Mocked Student & His Trans Prom Date


An investigation has been opened in the Hanover Area School District, Pennsylvania, after an openly gay student alleged that a teacher filmed him dancing with his transgender partner at a school prom event and then showed that video to a science class in order to mock him and his date.

Reports WNEP 16:

“It really hurt me to know that someone, I actually really trusted her, to know that she would do this,” said senior Jared Swank.

Swank, 18, said his senior prom over the weekend was a memorable one. The openly gay student at Hanover Area High School said he and his transgender female date enjoyed dancing the night away, but on Monday he said his prom experience took an ugly turn.

“I went to prom. One of the teachers took a video and put it on the whiteboard here at school and other students saw it and made comments,” added Swank.

Jared’ s mom said he has been bullied since eighth grade and this alleged incident was just another example.

“It hurt him, it hurt him. He was embarrassed, he was chastised. As a matter of fact, we just came from the gas station to get a drink before we got here and some of Hanover Area students yelled out the window, ‘(expletive).’ So that’s what it’s done. It’s antagonized more bullying,” said mother Dawn Mendygral.

Swank’s mother recently went before the school board to demand action over the alleged incident.

Reports Times Leader.com:

Mendygral said the video was brought to school by a Hanover Area teacher and played for the teacher’s science class.

“I have a real problem with that,” Mendygral said. “What I’m asking is what you’re going to do about this, what’s being done?”

Board President John Pericci said the board became aware of the situation today and, in accordance with policy, the superintendent would conduct a thorough investigation.

“Once we understand what has occurred, we will do interviews and we will also interview you and your son to understand your position and your statement and obviously the faculty involved and the students in the area,” Pericci said.

Mendygral said her son was at the meeting and willing to be interviewed then, but Pericci said that would not be necessary and suggested a meeting next week with Superintendent Anthony Podczasy.

The District does have a bullying policy which is also cyberbullying-inclusive.

However, the policy does not contain enumerated classes and therefore does not explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity-inclusive language.

There is, however, a focus on creating an inclusive environment with several schools having enacted SPIRIT programs which attempt to make students proud of their own identities and that reward respectful and tolerant behavior.

How this will square with procedural practice if the teacher in question is found to have acted in this manner remains to be seen.

The teacher’s name has not been disclosed while the internal investigation is ongoing.

Care2 will continue to follow this story as the investigation progresses.


Related Reading:

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2012

GOP Pollster Tells Republicans to Evolve on Gay Rights

Don’t Let What Happened to Shane Happen to You (VIDEO)


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to misocrazy.


LauraLee W.
LauraLee W.5 years ago

What I don't understand is (I am sorry to bring up another story but to prove my point of inconsistencies of school around the world policies that needs to be changed and be consistent and be the same): is one school teacher was fired over two old photos on his facebook that led him to be gay BUT this school article about a teacher clearly bullying and teasing and teaching other students how to be mean and degrade another student on his sexual preferance AND DOESN'T GET FIRED and ONCE MORE GETS INVESTIGATED. Whats to investigate. The video is there. Its clear!!!!!!!!! No one has to know and hear of anyone got hurt. Someone did get hurt. It was wrong. Many Many people got hurt. Not just the two who got video taped, but others who were being taught how to bully to murder is HOW I SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FIRE THAT TEACHER!!!!!!! I DEMAND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S5 years ago

Sheri S. Where does the teacher get off by acting better than anyone? All he has done is to give the bullies more reason to bully and by his ok showing of this film (which should never have been taken in the first place), he has given the bullies the ok to do their thing.

Sheri, dont you think that she knew this all along and that was her intended purpose in making and showing the film????

School districts need to send a clear message to both students and teachers, but especially teachers that this type of behavior WILL NOT be tolerated, tenure should not apply to situations like this.

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S5 years ago

When are schools going to stand up for their students instead of protecting the bigots and bullies???? It seems very obvious that the teacher is a bigot and posted it so that the bullies could see it and then attack and harass the couple!!! HANOVER SCHOOL DISTRICT, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP BIGOTRY LIKE THIS, AND FROM A TEACHER NO LESS. THIS TEACHER MUST BE TERMINATED!!!!

Allie Cat
Alison Stevenson5 years ago

Jessica: Actually no. My personal experience (being a trans woman, with a large number of trans people of both traditional binary genders as well as third genders in my social circle) suggests that the majority of trans people are bisexual and therefore indeed subject to homophobia along with more specific biphobia, but the statistics say that a slim majority of trans people are straight. But the bottom line is that trans people are diverse - just like cis people! - so it's inappropriate to generalise us whether as gay, straight or bi.

As for most gay people being trans, first of all the diversity principle above applies equally here. But moving on, it would be difficult to gauge how common it is to be trans given how difficult society makes it for us to come out, and how many people might for that matter have not realised it yet or even be in denial, made to believe it was something shameful by our society which invariably portrays trans people as circus freaks, con artists or both... even so, trans people are almost certainly a minority, in the gay community as well as wider society.

But it's true that straight trans people are often subject to homophobic abuse by people who have no understanding of gender *or* sexual orientation and conflate transgenderism and homosexuality, and to a lesser extent gay cis people are subjected to transphobic abuse as well for similar reasons.

Ricardo S.
Ricardo S5 years ago

If this is found out to be truth, this teacher should be suspended.

federico bortoletto

Che azione ripugnante.

RobynRobyn Brice
Robyn Vorsa5 years ago

Shameful, she should be sacked.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold5 years ago

Where does the teacher get off by acting better than anyone? All he has done is to give the bullies more reason to bully and by his ok showing of this film (which should never have been taken in the first place), he has given the bullies the ok to do their thing.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

What I've learned about education since reading Care 2. Teachers have never left high school. They behave like they did when they were being educated. If they were a bully then they continue to be a bully as an educator.

Janet G.
Janet G5 years ago

I agree that what this teacher did was inappropriate and insensitive to the student.