SULLIVAN, Ind. - The superintendent of a southwestern Indiana school district says he's dismayed by comments one of his teacher's made about gays.
The Sullivan Daily Times reported that Northeast School Corp. Superintendent Mark Baker said in a Thursday statement that Diana Medley's comments to a television station were "insensitive, unnecessary and hurtful." Baker also said he's "dismayed and disappointed" by her statements.
Medley, a special education teacher at North Central Jr./Sr. High School, told Terre Haute television station WTWO she believes people choose to be gay and that gays have no purpose in life.
"Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids. I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason," she told the TV station. "A gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God."
Medley was interviewed by the station about her support for a planned "traditional" prom for nearby Sullivan High School students that bans gay students.
As the story gained national attention, there have been calls for Medley to be fired, but Baker did not directly address the issue in his statement.
"We are saddened and share the concerns of those who disagree with the employee’s opinions," Baker said in the statement, the newspaper reported. "As we endeavor to educate our wonderful students, we appreciate the encouragement we are receiving from members of our community who support our efforts to work through these very unfortunate circumstances."
That prom has thrust the city of Sullivan to the center of a national discussion about intolerance.
National gay rights advocate Dan Savage blasted the separate prom movement on his blog.
"There's no way to stop the haters at Sullivan High School from holding an independent prom for the special bigoted kids," he wrote. "But here's what we can do: we can make a noise so loud enough that all the queer kids at Sullivan High School hear it. Those kids need to know that there are people -- a lot of people -- who think this (expletive) is wrong."
Southwest School Corporation Superintendent Chris Stitzle said the school plans to go on with its prom April 27 as planned.
"We're planning on having our prom just like we always have. We encourage all students to participate," he said. "We treat all students with respect and dignity."