Teacher's suspension stands

Gay teen appears on 'Ellen Show'


The Howell school district won't reverse a teacher's one-day unpaid suspension for kicking a boy out of class because the student said he didn't "accept gays."

Howell schools Superintendent Ronald Wilson said in a release Nov. 17 that Jay McDowell violated the student's right to free speech on Oct. 20. Wilson says the high school teacher also "violated board policy" in dismissing the student "who disagreed with him."

McDowell says he was explaining the difference between the Confederate flag and the gay pride rainbow flag when the student made his statement. McDowell has filed a complaint against the district.

An Ann Arbor Pioneer student, 14-year-old Graeme Taylor, gained media attention for his vocal support of McDowell at a Nov. 9 school board meeting. A video of Taylor's passionate defense of McDowell went viral on the internet, attracting the attention of the producers at the "Ellen Degeneres Show" who invited him to appear on the show Nov. 22.

"I went through some very tough times learning to accept myself, but once I did, I realized just what a beautiful thing that is," he told DeGeneres.

He said he began to tell his friends he was gay when he was 13 years old.

"We are all better for having you in the world," DeGeneres told Taylor.

She also presented him with a $10,000 scholarship from Tonic.

"Everybody has a voice and some people are kind of scared to go out there and share it. But, when you do, it just becomes a wonderful thing," he said.

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