A charter school teacher in Utah was placed on leave after boasting on social media about her “queer” talks with fourth-grade students.
In a video originally posted to TikTok, fourth-grade teacher Jenna Hall talks about her influence on past students at Renaissance Academy in Lehi, a southern suburb of Salt Lake City.
“My kids from last year are now in fifth grade and they come to visit me almost every day after school,” Hall said in the video. “And a lot of them are queer, because I am queer, and they figured it out, so I’ve become their safe space.”
Hall added that she saw those students playing popular board game “Guess Who,” but in “not a normal way.”
“They use things like ‘this person looks like a lesbian baddie who is going to come over make you dinner,’” Hall continues in the video and shows a card of a female character named Olivia. “Which character looks gay? Well, meet Mike.”
Her students are “figuring out who they are” and being “happy with who they are,” Hall said in excitement. “I could never imagine being in fifth grade saying these things out loud. I grew up super religious where nothing was okay, and so seeing this happen, I’m like, ‘Aah!’ but I’m also like, ‘Yay!’”
Shortly after the video was posted to other social media platforms and went viral, officials at Renaissance Academy placed Hall on leave for “several inappropriate conversations with former students.”
“Our teachers are expected to comport themselves with the highest degree of professionalism,” Mark Ursic, the school’s executive director, said in a statement. “Behavior that is unprofessional, in violation of state code, or that violates the trust placed in us by the families of Renaissance Academy will not be tolerated.”
In another incident earlier this month, a teacher in Florida said she was fired after discussing her sexual orientation with middle school students and instructing them to draw pictures of flags expressing their sexuality.
Casey Scott, a former teacher at Trafalgar Middle School, told NBC2 News that she was fired in March because of the art lesson, during which she revealed to her students that she is pansexual, a term “understood by some students and left others confused.”
According to the report, Scott’s students created flags that supposedly represented their gender identities and sexual orientations, including gay, transgender, and nonbinary. Scott posted those flags to the classroom door, only to have them removed and thrown into a trash bin by school officials.
Lee County School District told Scott that she was fired for “not abiding by the district curriculum,” citing complaints filed by parents who were upset about the art lesson. Days after her firing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law banning elementary school teachers in the state from pushing classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity.