His boss didn’t want the school to be associated with homosexuality.
The teacher wrote about homophoNes, not homophoBes, but he got fired because bigotry + stupidity = I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Onion.
Tim Torkildson is (was…) the social media specialist at an English as a second language school in Provo, UT called Nomen Global Language Center. Clarke Woodger is the owner of Nomen and he is either a class-A bigot or idiot or some awful (but common) combination of both. As the social media guy, Torkildson wrote blogs on the school’s website and his last subject was homophones. In case you missed 4th grade, homophones are words that sound alike, but have different meanings. I meant to tell you this mint is old. Would you please take that wood outside? Words like that can be confusing to non-native English speakers so homophones always come up at some point when you’re teaching English as a second language.
Woodger said Torkildson was promoting a gay agenda.
As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.
"Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality," Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.
Torkildson says he was careful to write a straightforward explanation of homophones. He knew the “homo” part of the word could be politically charged, but he thought the explanation of that quirky part of the English language would be educational.
List of words and phrases also off limits at the Nomen School:
17-hour sweat-fueled bathhouse gay orgy
Such common terms are now off-limits because the school is so terrified of being associated with any whisper of “gay”, Woodger will ban words for simply having the same prefix as homosexuality.
I wonder how that makes a little gay kid in Provo feel to know that being gay is so bad a school will take down a blog on a very valid English lesson just to avoid any potential link with homosexuality. That’s the lens I like to use whenever someone tries to explain away bigotry and isolate the action as if it doesn’t fit into an overall narrative in society. Being gay is so awful you might be fired for teaching homophones, and children pay attention. For some, it’s more confirmation for them to bully their peers and for others it’s more fuel for their feelings of being an outcast.
I don’t know any words that sound like “disgrace” but that’s what Clarke Woodger is.