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Ohio substitute teacher fired after handing out 'Pride' bracelets to students

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Image initially broadcast by ABC-WSYX 6

Last week, a homosexual substitute teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, was fired after handing out “Pride bracelets” to high school students. The incident occurred in the Huntington Local Schools district high school.

Jay Bowman, who has been a teacher for 30 years, was reportedly working as a substitute teacher when several girls in his classroom asked him about a “rainbow-colored First Capital PRIDE bracelet” he was wearing, reported WSYX, a local ABC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio.

Bowman’s employment was reportedly terminated after he gave similar gay pride bracelets to his students and explained to them what the bands symbolized.

To which Bowman said, “If a kid has questions. If a kid wants honesty, I don’t think I should be forbidden from providing that.”

Suggesting that his termination indicates the school’s willingness to violate the human rights of LGBT people, Bowman said, “I think the reaction to my violation when compared to other instances in the school where certain things are tolerated, was unfair, Bowman said. “Huntington Township is by in large a conservative area, and human rights are not a foreign entity at all, but it is outside the comfort level of a lot of people.”

Bowman insisted that him giving the students gay pride paraphernalia and explaining what the items symbolized from his perspective should not be considered recruitment. He also insisted that he was not responsible for the children he was supervising in the classroom.

“I don’t try to recruit anyone,” he said. “The parents are responsible for their kids. The parents are the ones who need to teach their kids right and wrong.”

Peter Ruby, the district’s superintendent, refused to answer questions about the incident on camera but issued a statement through the district saying that Bowman’s termination was because he violated school policy, not because of his sexual orientation.

“It is important for you to know that our Board policies restrict staff from discussing with students certain subjects, including political, religious, and personal beliefs. This past week, we received reports with specific concerns about possible violations of those policies by a substitute teacher in the district. After a brief investigation, we confirmed, by the substitute’s own admission, that he violated board policies by speaking to students about political and religious topics, as well as distributing bracelets.”

Despite Bowman clearly being terminated for his refusal to adhere to school policy, CNN said that his firing was “the latest example of LGBTQ discussion in schools sparking controversy.”

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