A student who graduated from Red Bank High School in Tennessee four years ago received an unsolicited message over the weekend from one of her former teachers, Erika Perry.
They weren’t particularly close, which is all the more reason it was bizarre for Perry to chime in regarding Hannah Kelley‘s same-sex relationship:
Hannah, I was very surprised a while ago when you showed pictures of your 1 year anniversary and the path you had chosen. I know that you want love, but woman to woman should only be a friendly love and not a sexual one. I realize that you may be upset with me, but true love will not sit idly by or not call out a grave sin that has taken over a loved one. Your current lifestyle is not what God has planned for you to be a part of. I pray that you use God’s love to lead you to true love and leave the temptation that you are currently in. You were a wonderfully bright student full of hope, love, and truth and I will pray for true happiness for your future.
It’s infuriating. The nerve of a Christian to think that she could inject her bigoted opinions into someone else’s feed because they once shared space in a classroom…
Just to get this out of the way, there’s nothing illegal about a teacher having hateful opinions or even sharing them with former students. There’s no indication Perry has ever done this while on the clock. This is really about ethics more than anything else.
But here’s the good news: Kelley shared the message on Facebook, where it quickly caught the eyes of the Hamilton County Department of Education. They issued a statement Saturday night:
“We are aware of a message circulating on social media from a teacher to a former student and do not condone it as a public entity operating under the separation of church and state,” said HCDE Communications Officer, Cody Patterson.
“Hamilton County Schools strives to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for all students regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or economic background,” the statement continued. “Our diversity is our strength. Our mission is to serve and care for all students as well as their families.”
It’s a lot of words without any real substance, but again, it’s not their job to police teachers in their free time.
Perry, perhaps under pressure, soon sent an apology to Kelley:
Yesterday, I sent you a private unsolicited message regarding your personal life.
I want to take this opportunity to fully apologize to you and anyone else my message offended or hurt.
I’m glad to have been your teacher and continue to care about you as a person.
I got into public education because I truly care for, respect, and believe in the potential of all students.
I want to make clear my private message is not representative of my school or the district.
Meh. She’s sorry this went public. She still harbors those same hateful Christian beliefs. The message to everyone is clear: Conservative Christianity and bigotry go hand-in-hand. Congratulations, Erika Perry. I’m sure Jesus is thrilled you tarnished the faith.
Kelley, to her credit, has accepted the apology and is ready to move on:
(Featured image via Facebook. Thanks to Brian for the link)