Wake County Schools

Wake teacher suspended after asking students about sexuality, religion, race

Posted September 26, 2019 9:26 a.m. EDT

— A Wake County high school teacher was suspended for a week without pay earlier this month after asking her students to fill out a worksheet and do a classroom activity about their sexuality, religion, race, gender, age, ability and socio-economic status. The students were also told to share the same information about their family, friends, teachers, neighbors and others.

Heritage High School English teacher Melissa Wilson, who makes $4,121 a month, was suspended without pay from Sept. 12 to 18, according to Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System.

Principal Scott Lyons told Wilson to stop doing the "Diversity Inventory" lesson after a parent shared concerns with the school last month.

"The principal reviewed the activity and resource and directed the teacher to discontinue the lesson immediately," Luten told WRAL News in a statement last month. "While we value efforts to build a classroom community that is inclusive and respectful of all students and backgrounds, the Wake County Public School System also respects and values student privacy and their right to engage in discussion about personal identity when they are comfortable to do so."

The worksheet in question was not a district-provided resource, Luten said.

"We will continue to work with educators on how to effectively lead important conversations connected to identity, culture, and other sensitive topics as appropriate," she said.

WRAL has reached out to Wilson for comment.

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