Thousands Rally Behind Utah Teacher Who Was Banned for Saying 'Boob' and 'Condom'
A community has rallied behind a beloved Utah science teacher who was fired for using two seemingly innocuous words.
RevaBeth Russell taught at Lehi High School for some 30 years and continued to pursue her love of the classroom as a substitute following her retirement two years ago.
That came to an abrupt halt in April when Russell was banned from the school after a student complained about her use of two specific words.
Those words? "Boob" and "condom."
Now, as word has spread about Russell's punishment, those who know and admire the teacher are speaking out in her defense.
"Known for her songs and fun, unconventional teaching style, Mrs. Russell is an inspiration to all educators," reads a petition--started by Russell's fellow teacher Leah Kinyon--that asks the Alpine School district to reinstate Russell as a substitute.
Nearly 4,000 people had signed the petition as of Saturday morning.
"Mrs. Russell used two words in a math class that prompted her discipline," reads the petition. "Unfortunately a student made a complaint. This was completely unwarranted and ridiculous."
Words of support have also cropped up on Russell's Facebook page.
"The fact that I can still VIVIDLY remember your lessons 10+ years later is a testament to what an incredible teacher you are," wrote Kathleen Russell Ciesla. "PS you know where the word testament comes from? Of course you do...because you taught me that tidbit of information!"
The root of the word testify, according to some, is from the Latin word for testicles.
Courtney Marie Jones also lent her support. "A lot of people love you. I hope you know how many lives you touched!" she wrote.
On the Change.org petition, the outpouring of support continues.
"Mrs. Russell always reminded me of Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus show. She is among one of teachers that I would consider to be the Greats," wrote Dustin Lybbert.
The personal testimonies go on and on. However, KSTU reports that at least one parent of a Lehi student took to social media to condemn Russell.
"My son was in the classroom when this went down...he said the things that she talked about were very offensive. Bad enough that he didn't want to talk to me about it," the parent reportedly wrote.
According to Kinyon, Russell did not know as of Friday whether it was the staffing agency that employs her or the school district that finalized the disciplinary action.
Alpine School District officials have referred questions about the issue to the staffing agency, Kelly Ediucational Services, who released the following statement:
"As an employer who conducts business based on the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, we do not discuss employee matters publicly."
Meanwhie, Russell continues to be able to sub at other high schools staffed by Kelly Services.