During a rant about tax funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Chicago-area high school teacher Dave Burk allegedly told students, “How would you feel about your tax dollars going to pay some black fag in New York to take pictures of other black fags?” Openly gay Geneva High School student Jordan Hunter is now spearheading a call for Burk’s firing.
Burk’s attorney, D.J. Tegeler, said Monday he was not personally aware of the terms Burk used to his classes, but that Burk apologizes for any offense. “Mr. Burk is cooperating fully with both the principal, the dean of students and the school board,” Tegeler said. “Mr. Burk’s biggest problem is he does not want to intentionally offend anybody and if he did, he apologizes.” Tegeler said Burk will abide by any punishment the district picks. “We have no intention of fighting anything,” Tegeler said. Hunter, who reported Burk to the administration, wants Burk fired. “If he wants to talk about a poor place to put our tax dollars, I think his salary is a poor place to put our tax dollars,” said Hunter, who is gay.
Hunter said several other students have contacted him, saying Burk repeated the same phrase in all his classes. “He’s free to feel any way he wants, but [with him] being in a position of influence like that over children, I don’t think he should be using that position to make statements like that,” said Hunter, 17, of Geneva. School board member Matt Henry said Hunter’s allegations might come up during tonight’s board meeting, but the board’s plan is to leave the issue to Craig Collins, the assistant superintendent for personnel services, who could not be reached for comment.
Kudos to Jordan Hunter, let’s hope he prevails.