Michigan student with two moms stopped from writing about marriage equality

Destiny McDermitt Montrose with her two moms, Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson

A Michigan high school teacher would not allow a student with two mothers to write about same-sex marriage for a class assignment.

Destiney McDermitt, 16, a junior at Hill McCloy High School in Montrose, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit, was instructed by an English teacher to pick a topic she felt strongly about and argue either for or against it as part of an assignment titled “Taking a Stand,” she and her mother Angela McDermitt-Jackson told NBC News.

McDermitt-Jackson said the teacher told her daughter that she could not write about same-sex marriage because the topic might offend someone in the class.

“My daughter actually asked the teacher to ask the class if it would offend anybody,” McDermitt-Jackson said. “At which point, the teacher told her, ‘I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to read about it and I am the one who has to grade it.'”

Linden Moore, superintendent of Montrose Community Schools, said in a statement Friday that “the teacher attempted to avoid disruption and controversy by limiting the topics that students could choose for a writing assignment.”

“Unfortunately, although well-intentioned, the teacher was too restrictive,” the statement said. “We have spoken to the teacher and all of our staff about valuing opinions, beliefs, and rights of all of our students.”

McDermitt-Jackson said she is unsatisfied with the school district’s response.

“They completely failed not only my daughter, but they failed all of us,” she said. “They did not handle this appropriately.”

She said she filed a complaint last week with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan because she believes her daughter was discriminated against and her right to freedom of speech had been violated.