The video, posted by a user named @miss_hall_, appears to show Jenna Hall, a fourth-grade teacher at Renaissance Academy. In the video, she explains that some of her former LGBTQIA+ students had “figured [out]” that she is queer, and because of this, her classroom has become a safe space for them after school.
In the video, the woman says during a game of “Guess Who?” that instead of asking the typical questions, the students asked about sexual orientation, saying, “Which one of these characters is a lesbian baddie that’s going to come over and make you dinner?”
“To assume that talking about making dinner with her children in a different dynamic than what they’ve seen in their own homes would be harmful is silly,” said Jessica Dummar, co-CEO of Utah Pride Center.
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Dummar said punishing Hall creates a double standard. On the other side of the argument is Corrine Johnson, the public relations director for Utah Parents United. “I think parents across Utah when we see things like this, you can’t help but feel a little bit violated,” said Johnson, who believes these conversations should be had at home, and not at school.
“That is a parent’s domain — values, attitudes and beliefs of their children to be shaped by parents. And these topics, they do stray into the realm of religion,” said Johnson.
But Dummar said this isn’t a conversation about religion or sexuality. “I think that if you can stand up and say, ‘Hi, my name is this, and I have a spouse that has a different gender,’ then it’s completely for them to say, ‘I have a boyfriend or a girlfriend that’s my same gender or a husband or a wife that is my same gender.’ It isn’t sexuality — it’s identity,” said Dummar.
Renaissance Academy released the following statement: “Late Friday afternoon, May 6, 2022, we became aware of a concerning video posted to social media by one of our teachers. In the video, the teacher described several inappropriate conversations with former students. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation.
“Our teachers are expected to comport themselves with the highest degree of professionalism. 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.”
Renaissance Academy said the investigation should take three days to complete. During that time, the teacher will remain on paid administrative leave.