Friday, February 3, 2012

Teacher Puts Own Bias Above Student's Education

We must be doing something right as our swelling numbers continue the fight for equality for everyone.  "The other side" is fighting back with a vengeance.

A member of Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook sent a direct email to the staff there.  In it, he told of a relative of a friend in Eufaula High School, in Eufaula, OK.  A high school class is given as essay assignment.  It is to be on current events.  One girl's choice was to do one on gay marriage.  What's in the news more than that these days?  Brilliant, and brave, idea.

Gale Applegate, this girl's teacher who gave the assignment, forbade the girl to write on that topic, saying everything but the truth of the matter:  that she's a homophobe and a bigot.  She told the young pioneer outright that she would be "unable to grade her paper without bias", which is an acknowledgement that she's against same-sex marriages.  In itself, I'm ok with her being against same-sex marriage.  That's her prerogative.  I'm not ok with her imposing her bias on a young, blossoming, impressionable mind.

Is it the responsibility of a teacher to censor the critical thinking abilities of their students?  The deeper question is should a teacher even be allowed to impose their own prejudices upon their students?  The answer to both is an unequivocal no.  There is no way that young Khrystal shouldn't be able to write to her imagination's extent and on whatever topic she chooses.  If the idea was to write on current events, what could be more current, more relevant than today's nationwide, indeed worldwide, struggle for marriage equality?  Instead of allowing this young student to explore and express her opinions on a critical and controversial topic, Ms. Applegate threatened to not only fail the assignment:  she threatened to fail Khrystal for the class!  Every clear thinking parent, student, male or female should be outraged at this teacher's arrogance.  Forget the bigotry.  She's allowed, under the Constitution, to be an ass.  However, she is not allowed to force feed her prejudices to her students.

One of my favorite battle cries is THERE IS POWER IN NUMBERS!!  Those who are in the U.S. can voice your concerns by calling the school superintendent as well as the principal directly.  Those outside the U.S. who wish to voice their opinions can write to the address below.  There are also email addresses, both for the principal and the Dean of Students:  -  Principal

jlbohannon@eufaula.k12.ok.  -  Johnny Bohannon, Dean of Students

Superintendent Rita Ford

Principal Garret Davis

Eufaula High School
1st & Woodland
Eufaula, Oklahoma 74432-2410
Phone: 918.689.2556
Fax: 918.689.1099

Imposing limitations on what a student can explore and express academically is detrimental to every student's educational, psychological, and mental growth.  Worse, it grooms them to be just as prejudiced as the teacher.  The time for such brainwashing has come to an end.  We need to make sure Gale Applegate knows and fully understands that.


  1. Seriously???? This teacher needs to go back to school, and learn to teach. Personal bias has no place in the classroom. That would be like a christian failing a student for handing in an award-winning paper on evolution!!!!

  2. Our civilization must be pretty uncivilized if we can't even get over a preference in who we find attractive.
    It really makes me wonder if people like Applegate care about things like personal freedoms, or if they are just mindless pawns in the chess game that Goldman Sacchs plays with the world.

  3. I just sent a nice, polit e-mail to both of the above e-mail addresses. It reads as follows:

    Good Evening Mr. Davis;

    I'm writing in response to a disturbing article I read tonight regarding one of your teaches, Gale Applegate, and her refusal to allow a student to write about a current event of her choice, despite the assignment being to do just that: write about any current event of the student's choice.

    It's my understanding this student chose to write about the fight for marriage equality, which is indeed a very current topic. (Washington State just granted the right to marriage equality, being the 7th State in the US to wake up and allow equal rights for ALL its' citizens, in case you weren't aware.) I'm led to believe that Ms. (or Mrs.) Applegate said she would be "unable to grade her paper without bias". Now, don't get me wrong, this teacher is welcome to be as biased as she likes. I won't even attempt to take that right from her. What she has NO right to do, is express and impose her own personal bias in a classroom where she is supposed to be teaching impressionable young minds. This sends a very dangerous and negative message to every student in the class, not just to the student who chose this as her topic.

    I understand Ms. (or Mrs.) Applegate even threatened the student with not only failing the assignment, but also failing the entire class if she submitted the assignment if written on the fight for equal marriage rights. While I am a Canadian and therefore have no say in what goes on in Oklahoma as far as education goes, I can say is that it is my opinion that any person who teaches and actually cares about the education their student's receive should not be acting in such a manner. A bigot such as Gale Applegate has no place in a classroom full of children, thrusting her narrow-minded, arrogant views on these kids. I will repeat, this is a VERY dangerous and negative message to be sending to children.

    Perhaps my e-mail will mean nothing to you, and perhaps you won't even bother to respond to it. Those are both options that are freely available to you. But I sincerely hope it at least makes you stop and think about the quality of education Gale Applegate is capable of giving to her students. They deserve better than bigotry and hate. Imposing limitations on what a student can explore and express academically is detrimental to every student's educational, psychological, and mental growth. Worse, it grooms them to be just as prejudiced as the teacher. The time for such brainwashing has come to an end. We need to make sure Gale Applegate knows and fully understands that.


    Douglas Simpson-Dietrich
    London, Ontario, Canada

  4. To have an opinion is to have bias. Are we to believe that Applegate has no opinion on any current events other than gay marriage?

  5. What a joke when you look at the mission statement of the school district below! I wrote my letters already, and re-posted this!

    The mission of Eufaula Public Schools is to provide a positive environment that will enable all students to be lifelong
    learners and responsible, contributing citizens in an ever-changing global society.

  6. Here is the school's anti-bullying policy, right from their handbook!

    Bullying Policy
    Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
    The Eufaula Public School District is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees,
    volunteer and patrons, free from harassment, intimidation or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any
    intentional written, verbal, or physical act, when the intentional written, verbal, or physical act:
     Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property; or
     Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education; or
     Is severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment;
     Or has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the schoo

  7. It looks as though this school, through this teacher, are not living up to either their mission statement OR bullying policy. Do we know if the student's parents or guardians have complained to the school, PTA, local politicians or local papers? I'd be addressing all of them if I had anything to do with it. This so-called "teacher" has a disgraceful attitude. All the class should get together and write about the same issue - then Ms Applegate would have a reason to fail them all! I am disgusted by this woman!

  8. on the one side, I can give a little bit of credit to the teacher for realizing she was biased, that's more than most people do. she probably thought she was doing the student a favour by admitting she was biased...

    however, in realizing she was biased, she should also have realized that if that was a problem, then it was a problem with *herself*.
    Discouraging the student was only making the problem worse.

  9. I agree to an extent, Eleriel. However, if the teacher was truly honest she would know that such a realisation should be taken by her immediately to her superiors because it negates her ability to carry out her professional role as a teacher and she should therefore resign. What if she were a doctor refusing to treat a gay patient? She would be struck off.

  10. The teacher should have accepted the essay and asked another teacher to grade it for her, if she found it too difficult. Also, does this mean that the teacher grades others papers in accordance to her own opinions on the subject she's reading- instead of the student's ability to write, research and respond with accuracy and style?

  11. I am truly appalled by the behavior of ms. Or mrs. Applegate. As a student and hopefully a future educator it is my belief that a teacher should be someone who can positively encourage a student's ability tp flourish and achieve all that they can, clearly that is not what ms. (or mrs.) applegate is doing right now. My emails are being written.

  12. Every single one of us, from far right to liberal left has a bias and an opinion.

    Is this teacher saying that she can't grade a student's paper accurately based on facts reported in the news? If that's what this teacher is indicating, then... why is she a teacher?

    If I want to take the position that [insert evil thing here] is actually a good thing - and I structure my arguments around it in defense of that idea, then I would expect any teacher to be able to look at my paper and its facts and arguments separately from their own personal feelings on said evilness. In fact, in college level courses, you're encouraged to take positions opposite from what you hold and defend them well.

    THAT is the root of this whole issue. That teacher is really telling the student that the student is going to fail because the teacher is unable to do her job correctly.

    ...and yeah, that's a bad message.

  13. The irritating thing is that any teacher who teaches government/civic is forbidden from using political bias in their classrooms. You can be a Republican or Democrat, but check your politics at the door. It's called professionalism.

    If this story is indeed true (and I haven't seen any independent verification that it is), then the teacher is acting in an unprofessional manner which is inconsistent with any state education board's ethics policy.

  14. A real teacher would grade the paper on spelling, grammar, structure, coherence, cohesiveness, etc. That is what you expect an English paper to be graded on.

  15. I've seen no evidence that indicates the teacher is guilty of homophobia or bias or anything. As a fellow teacher, I'm overworked and stressed enough without my school email and boss being barraged with messages from outraged strangers. Leave the teacher alone until you have proof of misbehavior. Even then, I think it's the duty of the parents to approach the teacher first and express concern. If that doesn't yield satisfactory results, they can try the principal, then the superintendant, then the courts if necessary. We don't need to result to bullying.

    1. I understand that being a teacher is a stressful, under paid, and under appreciated job (I am a stay at home mom for four children and home schooling one). However there should be no subject that a child should not be able to report on short of one that is harmful to another. A report on how Billy picks his nose and eats it for instance would be inappropriate. This was wrong and she should apologize if in fact this did occur. School is supposed to be a place of facts not opinions. Give the children the information and allow them to come to their own conclusions that is what education is for.

  16. Proof came today, The mother met with the school and they state that they will FAIL the student if she writes this paper on this topic and won't even read it. AUTOMATIC "F" just for the topic. I'm sorry, even if she is not for gay marriage this is not OK, grade a paper on merits, not your person thoughts!

    Please email the school at:

    Thank you.

  17. …she would be "unable to grade her paper without bias", which is an acknowledgement that she's against same-sex marriages.

    It doesn't necessarily acknowledge that. It could be that Applegate is firmly in favor of same-sex marriage. Bias works both ways, remember.

  18. What isn't said is the students opinion on same-sex marriage. Maybe the student and/or her family is actually against it and the teacher's bias is because she is in full favor. Either way, to fail the student over her opinion is wrong, but this puts a new angle on it.

  19. I agee with the last post. No one has said exactly where each of the involved members stand. Everyone is just assuming that the the teacher is against it and the student is for it. As a gay man and a future teacher myself, I totally understand why the teacher confessed her bias, but I also realize that s the she should not have done it in the manner that was said. To immediately penalize the student just for the topic is very unprofessional. An honest teacher can grade on merit rather than their on beliefs.

    1. Might I suggest that you read today's blog entry,, for the happy results. The teacher, in fact, acknowledged her bias against marriage equality. You're going to become a fine educator based on your comment. Kudos.

  20. "Gay couples are going to get together. It's been happening since ancient times. Legal prohibitions didn't, couldn't and would never stop it. Isn't it better that gays conduct their relationships within the context of a well-defined marriage law, same as heterosexual couples?"

  21. I go to Eufaula High School and I know Khrystal she is my best-friend. The teacher is a good teacher but she is homophobic, she wouldnt make eye contacts with a student who was openly gay! I love Mrs. Applegate to death she is a kind teacher but I dont like how she failed Khrystal. This is an update on her progress since the paper... She failed English III and was sent in to the ALT ED program where she has now Graduated (On Friday) The school is still messing with students! I am a senior there and I am being charged with a book that I "Ruined" I had the class for 1 semester and the book was brand new when returned! The back was torn off apparently so when I asked the teacher to see the book she said that it was given to a student! That is good ole' Eufaula for you. So now I can not graduate until I pay $65 dollars for a book. It may not seem like much but I live on $1000 a month and that is our only income we dont get any government assistance.