Hundreds rally for gay teacher reprimanded after husband sent flowers

Wed. April 18, 2018 2:53 PM by News Staff

hundreds rally for beloved gay teacher

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Burlington, IL - It was a standing-room only school board meeting Monday in Burlington, Illinois when hundreds of students, parents and faculty members showed support for a gay teacher reprimanded after receiving flowers from his husband.

On Valentine's Day Nathan Etter, a first-year music teacher at Prairie View Grade School, received a bouquet of flowers from his husband, Phillip, prompting some first-grade students to make comments like "eww" and "gross."

Etter, 30, who has been married since August, said he used the interaction as a "teachable moment," making very brief comments about respect and tolerance and explaining how some families have two moms or two dads.

A week later, Etter was called in to the principal's office and told to "stick to the curriculum."

"This would never have happened if Nathan had been sent flowers from his wife," Etter's husband told NBC Chicago.

Supporters rallied before the board meeting, carrying signs that read, "We support Mr. Etter" and "Respect for All."

School board President Jeff Kellenberger told the crowd that "the district had no further concerns and considered the matter resolved," adding that Etter's employment "was never in jeopardy."

"A primary value of 301 is we are welcome, inclusive, respectful to all faculty, staff, students and families," Kellenberger told NBC Chicago. 

Etter said he was disappointed that he did not receive an apology.