A fourth-grade teacher at the Leons Public School in Monroe, Georgia, says she was forced to take sex ed classes for four years because she didn’t want to be a lesbian.
In an interview with WXIA, Leona Smith said she took the classes because she wanted to learn about the sexuality of others, but she also wanted to be herself.
“They were telling us that we’re the worst, that we don’t understand it, that they didn’t really understand that it was not OK to be gay,” Smith said.
“So it’s really sad to me, because I felt like I was always being told I was the worst.”
Smith said the school, which has over 1,300 students, has always been a safe and accepting place.
“I’m glad that we did something about it, but we really have to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
She also said she was embarrassed to say the word lesbian to her teacher.
“The teacher said, ‘You know, you are gay,'” Smith said, adding that the teacher told her she was a lesbian because she is.
Smith was only 18 when she began taking sex ed class at Leons Elementary School in 2011.
“My first teacher told me that I was a homosexual,” Smith recalled.
“He said that I should have been a girl and that it wasn’t right for me to have gay friends.”
The first sex ed teacher at Leont Elementary School, Lauren Smith, in a 2012 interview.
According to Smith, she told her teacher that she had “a boyfriend” and was ashamed of her sexual orientation.
In 2013, Smith began taking her sex ed to the Liberty Middle School in Liberty, which is about 40 minutes from her home in Monroe.
She said she had already begun feeling uncomfortable and that she was being punished for being gay.
“That was the first time I felt a bit uncomfortable and was getting really nervous about the class,” Smith told WXIE-TV.
Smith said in 2013, her teacher told students that she believed homosexuality was an unhealthy lifestyle and that homosexuality was “unhealthy.”
She said her teacher was also “shocked” that she would ask students to share their sexual orientation, and said she would be fired for “failing to support students who were questioning their sexuality.”
In 2014, Smith took her class to the Monroe Public Schools in Monroe where she said her sexuality had been the topic of conversation since the age of 5.
Smith told local ABC affiliate WXAN that the conversation was uncomfortable.
“You could see him watching us from his seat, and he was like, ‘That’s my daughter, that’s my teacher,'” Smith told the station.
“And I was like ‘Well, what did you do?’
He was like: ‘What are you doing?’
And I was just like, I’m just here because I’m gay.'”
She also told the news station that she felt that her teacher treated her as an equal and that “he just never asked about my sexual orientation or my sexuality.
He just didn’t ask.”
Smith told ABC affiliate WBTV that she began to feel uncomfortable during class because she did not feel comfortable sharing her sexual identity.
“Every class we would have a teacher who would just say, ‘I think you’re straight,’ and that was really upsetting to me because I didn’t feel that I had a choice in that,” Smith explained.
“In that class, I was being told that I’m the worst because I am gay.”
Smith was also subjected to sexual harassment and bullying during her time in the classroom.
“We would have to do a sexual health screening with them, and I would be like, what’s going on?
They were like, you need to be more comfortable, you can’t wear a dress,” Smith recounted.
“All I could say was, ‘Oh, okay, that was fun.
We’re going to do that again.'”
Smith said her first year of taking her classes at Liberty Middle was a “painful” experience for her, but that her teachers did not have any negative comments toward her during her tenure.
Smith said she has continued to work with her school district and said that the school’s district manager has been supportive and helpful during her transition.
Smith also told WBTV she is working to become a full-time student at Liberty High School and said her parents have been supportive.
“We feel that the district and the school are working really hard to make it right,” Smith stated.
“Hopefully this will help other parents who are struggling, or people who want to come forward, and hopefully this will show the district that it’s not OK.”
Smith has not been able to disclose what her next step is, but said she hopes to continue to speak out and share her story in hopes that her story will help others.
Smith told WBTX-TV that the schools sexual