After receiving anger for a note he wrote on a classroom whiteboard urging kids to “be yourselves,” with a reference to the LGBTQ and transgender individuals, a music instructor in Estill County has resigned.
Tyler Clay Morgan posted on Facebook on Monday that he had resigned from his position as principal of West Irvine Intermediate School in Irvine, Kentucky, which serves kids in grades three through five.
Morgan did not explain why he quit in his statement, and he did not reply to a Courier Journal request for comment.
However, multiple social media posts from late last week and over the weekend claimed he said “You are free to be yourself with me.” “You matter!” he wrote on a whiteboard in his classroom, above which he drew an LGBTQ rainbow flag and a flag symbolizing the transgender community.
According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Morgan said he authored the remark and posted the photo to his personal Facebook account. He has declined to comment further and has requested privacy to “grieve and process.”
“I still firmly believe more work needs to be done in Kentucky, especially in Eastern Kentucky, to ensure that more resources are provided to make sure all students feel safe, secure, and seen, not just the ones that come out as part of any community or share hardships,” Morgan wrote Monday in a separate post. “My hope is that every educator that sees this is empowered, passionate, and actively working to make a change in the world of education as I am.”
Several social media users who had sent comments in favor of Morgan said that as a result of the message, he had been suspended or faced other disciplinary penalties.
In a statement released Monday, Estill County Superintendent Jeff Saylor did not clarify what penalties Morgan may face, but claimed “misinformation” about the event had circulated in recent days.
Saylor claimed his problem was with “conversations that went place during class,” not with the language Morgan used in the mail. Teachers should assist kids, but should also direct them to school counselors when “tough events and circumstances” are discussed, he added in his statement.
“I firmly believe that students and their parents expect teachers to teach content about their assigned curriculum in a subject area,” his statement said in part. “Of course, there are times that conversations may vary from that day’s lesson plan, but these conversations went far beyond the music curriculum. It is my job to make sure that parents are not surprised by these types of situations.”
Saylor stated that the situation had been “handled and closed” and that he had no further comment. His statement omitted specifics concerning the talks he claimed had occurred.
Estill County is roughly a two-hour drive from Louisville and is located southeast of Lexington.