Teachers work extremely hard but they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. The hardest part of their job can be dealing with cruel parents.
Michael Neri runs the Talking Props Theatre School in Kidderminster, England.
Michael works hard every day to help instill energy, confidence, and self-expression in his students aged 8 through 13 by teaching them drama.
But the mother of two of his students completely overlooked these facts.
The only thing she could focus on was Michael’s sexuality.
Though Michael just so happens to be gay, his sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with his performance as a teacher.
But this one mother felt that it did.
She is a Christian and her religious ideals teach that homosexuality is a sin… or something like that. Fine. She lives in a country where she is free to believe whatever she wants to.
But this woman went out of her way to basically shame Michael and make him feel bad for, well, being him.
She told him that she would be removing the children from his class because he is gay.
She could have just removed her children from class and not said anything and never returned to calls, made up a different excuse, or just say she is taking them out of his class without any excuse at all.
Dressed up as Elphaba and made the juniors be my ensemble didn’t I (thanks Chris for letting my borrow the hydraulic lift of dreams)
Posted by Michael Neri on Thursday, February 14, 2019
But no. This woman went out of her way to basically shame him and then demand her money back. Rude!!!
Here’s the text that she sent him.
“Hi Michael. Following our chat this week I have decided that [child’s name] and [child’s name] will not be attending class on Monday,” the text read.
“You have a strong reputation for performing arts which encouraged me to sign my children up for classes. I have recently learned of your lifestyle and as a Christian, I cannot allow my children to be influenced by unconventional ideas. It is our belief that a man should marry a woman. I look forward to receiving my deposit which you may post to me via cheque. Regards [mother’s name]”
Michael told Metro that he was quite taken aback by the text.
“When I first saw the message I had to read it through twice,” he said. “I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it was still a hurtful thing to receive.”
Yes, it’s very clear that this woman was out to hurt someone instead of just taking her children out of class.
Still, despite this fact he had the perfect response.
While most people would tell her to f*ck off, he decided to eloquently stand up for himself and put her in her place in the politest way possible.
Here’s his response:
“Hi [mother’s name]. I would be lying if I said I was disappointed to hear this. I pride my students on the respect and love they have for others and their passion for equality. You would only be infringing on our family. As far as I’m aware, my sexuality doesn’t affect my ability to teach, just like it wouldn’t affect a doctor’s ability to treat one of your children should they become unwell. I’m sure your children’s health would come first should they need emergency treatment, or would you need to check their doctor’s lifestyle prior to their life-saving operation?”
From here he goes on to wish this woman luck in finding drama classes for her children but points out that it might be more difficult than she thought.
The best part is when he quotes the Bible… HILARIOUS!
“I wish you luck in finding an appropriate stage school that meets your needs, however from experience I find that theatre without gays is like cooking without spices (just my opinion).”
“I hear StageCoach are enrolling but their teachers have been known to wear mixed fabrics which I’m sure you are aware is forbidden in the Bible (Leviticus 19:19). Please feel free to come see our musical ‘Happy Days’, confetti will be used in the finale but please rest assured this is not an attempt to corrupt your Christian lifestyle. We just love glitter. Unfortunately, deposits are non-refundable but don’t worry, your deposit has been donated to Stonewall, an LGBT charity. Regards Michael.”
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He ended up posting the text messages on social media.
His clapback was so perfect that his post ended up going viral.
“It’s been quite overwhelming how much it all escalated,” he told Metro. “I didn’t want to upset anyone, but I needed to protect myself and my organization, so I thought I would reply in a polite manner.”
Michael says that the children are more than welcome to come back to class if their mom changes her mind. After all, he can’t blame children for their mother’s beliefs.
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