Louis van Amstel’s son got a lecture against homosexuality by bigoted substitute

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This is an awful story, but it ends on an up note so please stick with it. Dancer Louis van Amstel, who performed as a pro on Dancing with the Stars for 10 seasons, posted a video to Twitter talking about his son being bullied at school. Already this is a dreadful story, right? But the details will gut you, like the fact that the bullying took place in a fifth-grade classroom and that the bully was the substitute teacher hired to be in the classroom that day. This substitute teacher, who is as cliche as she is cruel, went around the room asking the children what they would be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The 11-year-old boy in question happily told the class he was thankful that his two dads were finally adopting him. So what should have been a moment of joy for everyone in the room was obliterated when the substitute decided to vomit out her hateful, homophobic thoughts all over the children.

Former “Dancing with the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel is speaking out after a teacher berated his son for saying he’s thankful for his two dads.

Amstel and his husband, Joshua Lancaster, are in the process of adopting an 11-year-old boy, who is currently in fifth grade. During a pre-Thanksgiving lesson, a substitute teacher at the boy’s Utah elementary school asked his class to share what they were thankful for. According to van Amstel, when the boy said that he was thankful he was “finally going to be adopted by my two dads,” the unidentified teacher responded that two dads were “nothing to be thankful for.” The teacher reportedly went on to lecture the fifth-graders about how she believed being gay is wrong.

Van Amstel, who competed as a professional choreographer on “Dancing With the Stars” for 10 seasons, took to Twitter to say, “our child was bullied.”

“Three female students asked the teacher to stop multiple times, and when she didn’t, they walked to the principal’s office to report her. She was ultimately escorted from the building and, as this unfolded, she continued to argue her point,” he wrote.

Van Amstel said he and his husband found out about the incident when school administrators contacted him. Van Amstel credited the school for how they handled the incident.

The 11-year-old joined the family after being in foster care for years and experiencing two failed adoptions. Van Amstel said he was “so fearful that this could make us think that we don’t want to adopt him.”

The substitute teacher, who was subcontracted by the Utah school district through Kelly Services, was fired.

[From CNN]

Louis documented the events with a Twitter thread. The incident happen at the boy’s school in Cedar Hills, Utah, which is about 35 miles outside Salt Lake City. I’m not using the boy’s name because most outlets are omitting it due to the adoption not being finalized, although Louis does say his name many times in his video. According to The Salt Lake City Tribune, the story was pieced together by student accounts because the boy did not want to get the teacher in trouble, which is a common reaction for a child. However, as the article states, he has also gone through two failed adoptions, so he didn’t want to say anything because he was afraid dads wouldn’t want to adopt him because of it. That’s heartbreaking, I’m still choked up at that part. Of course, Louis and Joshua have assured him and everyone that that is absolutely not the case, they are more eager than ever to finalize the whole thing. According to Louis’ twitter, the teacher proceeded to blame the boy for her tirade, telling him, “that it was his fault that she went off.” Ugh.

As I said, there are a few points of light in this story, though. Three girls in the classroom told the woman to stop, many times, and when she refused, the three classmates left the classroom to alert the principal. The school acted quickly and decidedly, escorting the woman from the classroom (while she was still spewing filth, apparently). They notified Louis and Joshua at once and told everyone the woman would never be allowed to work on their campus again. And then the agency from which they had hired her issued a statement that she was fired and so would anyone else who tried to pull that crap (those are my words, but you get their gist). The only thing that would make this ending better if she was marched through town as someone rang a bell and chanted “shame” behind her.

My heart goes out to Louis, Josh and their son. I’m sure the parents of those classmates that stood up for him stand very proud tonight. I’m thrilled to hear a school took the right side on this matter and acted not only quickly but to the parents’ satisfaction. This should be the happiest time in the van Amstel-Lancaster household, and I hope that is still can be, despite this wretched woman’s attempt to mar it with her empty words of hate.


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Photo credit: WENN Photos and Twitter

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37 Responses to “Louis van Amstel’s son got a lecture against homosexuality by bigoted substitute”

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  1. Cindy says:

    A woman like that has no right to be teaching kids. I feel so bad for that poor boy, opening up about something so personal and meaningful to him just to be told he’s gross for wanting to have a family.

  2. Arizona says:

    this story equally broke my heart for that poor boy having to listen to that, but also made me so happy that other students and the school and the hiring place all handled it exactly how they should have.

    • Rapunzel says:

      The saddest part for me was Louis saying that the boy kept quiet because he was afraid he’d ruin the adoption.

      • Aims says:

        That is what got me also. That poor boy probably had a bad start in life and finally found a loving family and he didn’t want to screw it up. Which again shows me that children will take the blame for something that isn’t their fault. I’m really proud of those students that stood up for him. That adult has no business being around children.

        I was being a nosy mom the other week. I was listening to my son talking to his friends. One of his dude’s said said something offensive about being gay. My son immediately told his friend that there’s nothing wrong with being gay and he needed to shut his mouth. That made me so proud I almost cried. He stood up and said something without thinking twice. He doesn’t know I heard, but I had a proud mom moment.

        We are our children’s first teachers. It is our responsibility to about empathy, compassion and standing up against bullying. Even if they’re adults.

  3. HK9 says:

    I’m proud of those kids, and I’m proud of the administration who escorted her out. While that teacher was vile, it’s nice to know that people will do the right thing in real time. Congrats on their adoption.

  4. Christo says:

    Honestly, the teacher sounds like a miserable, awful person who actively deconstructs anything that does not fit her small-minded world view. Counting the seconds for when her GoFundMe page for religious persecution goes live….ugh.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Christo- yep…I’m sure she’s screaming religious persecution and I’d love to see what she posted on social media about this, if anything.

    • Erinn says:

      It baffles me that this even happened. But I am so impressed that FINALLY we hear about a story like this that was handled the RIGHT way, and very quickly.

      To become a teacher in Nova Scotia you need 6 years of college education (a 4 year bachelors degree AND a 2 year bachelor of education). Is that the same case in the US?

      It bugs me that miserable pieces of crap like this woman are allowed to teach. But looking around at the people in my office – we have a fair share of batshit crazy, hateful people who have no business working here haha. I think unfortunately that kind of thing happens in EVERY industry. I just wish there was more that could be done to screen people like this.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Erinn- this was not a teacher. It was a substitute teacher. You generally don’t need a teaching degree/credential for that.

      • Kayla says:

        She’s a sub – in order to be a substitute in the US you need to either have completed a number of credits (enrolled in school) or have taken a brief certification test. She is not a fully licensed educator.

        Teaching requirements vary from state to state. Here in NY, teachers are required to have their bachelors and within a certain number of years (and before getting tenure) have to get their masters.

      • deezee says:

        No it isn’t like that in the States. I have a friend in Kansas talking about anyone (educated or not – talking high school level) can become a teacher. Their system is so effed up.

        @Rapunzel, in Canada (at least Ontario though probably the same in NS) substitute teachers are full accredited teachers that are either A) semi-retired or B) waiting to get a full time teaching position. It is a highly skilled, highly paid position.

      • Rapunzel says:

        deezee- no, not anyone can become a teacher in the states. Each state varies as to how strict degree/credential requirements are, but afaik, you need a degree and a teaching credential/background check in every state. The problem is that teaching shortages allow for “emergency” credentials and exceptions which lead to underqualified people in the classroom. And substitute teaching, while commonly well paid, is generally a joke when it comes to requirements. A lot of retired/training teachers sub, yes, but desperation leads to a lot of really unsuitable folks.

        It’s depressing.

      • deezee says:


        We don’t have that problem, the opposite in fact (except for French Immersion teachers). Since salaries can get up to 6 figures with good benefits/ridiculously good pensions, we have a lot of accredited teachers in Ontario that cannot get jobs.

      • ME says:

        @ deezee

        Fellow Canadian here. The whole process of getting a teaching job in Ontario is ridiculous. You sometimes have to wait years on a list. What’s really not fair is I once knew a co-worker who knew someone on the “inside” and had her name jumped to the top of the list ! She got hired right away but left teaching after 2 years because she hated it. I have a cousin that waited yearsssss and finally got a teaching position after I think 6 years.

  5. Rapunzel says:

    The worst part of this is that you know this woman probably doesn’t see anything wrong with her behavior and went home ranting about religious persecution and how “the left” is indoctrinating kids into some LBGTQ agenda.

  6. GogoRoboto says:

    Her tirade is no one’s fault except her own bigotry. Homophobes have no business being in a classroom where they can use their own false sense moral superiority to bully children. I am so proud of those kids who stood up for their classmate. I wish more adults were as compassionate and brave as they are.

  7. StormsMama says:

    I hope this boy has a good therapist. I’m being serious. This is the kind of trauma that can decimate a kids self esteem and really impact his perception of himself and his worth.

  8. Lucy2 says:

    I’m so sorry their son went through this, that poor kid has been through enough and deserves all the happiness in the world.

    But I am extremely proud of the other students who stood up and did the right thing.

  9. Sarah says:

    That cow (no disrepect to cows out there who are minding their own business).

  10. adastraperaspera says:

    Standing ovation to the girls who reported this to the principal. This took place in Utah, a red state, so it’s a good sign that kids everywhere are getting the message that bullying and homophobia are not acceptable in civil society.

    • amayson1977 says:

      I am so proud of the classmates who defended their friend against this hate, and glad that the school handled it swiftly, decisively, and correctly. And I hope that sweet boy and his loving parents know that that idiot is totally, 100% WRONG and that their family is beautiful and wonderful.

      I’ve got one elementary-aged kiddo and one middle-schooler, and my anecdotal experience is that kids these days are much, MUCH kinder, more accepting, and more open-minded than ever before. Sure, there are still some little jerks out there, but IME they get corrected and stood up to FAST. Kindness is the new cool and I am all for it.

      • ME says:

        I’m so glad to hear that. Kids were NOT kind when I was in school. They were horrible. It was a mob mentality to be bullies and racists back then. Hey let’s all pick on the one non-White kid. It was so hard. I’m just so glad kids now a days seem so much nicer for the most part.

    • schmootc says:

      I’m honestly surprised that the school and agency handled it so well, given that the school is in Utah. Granted, SLC is more liberal than the rest of the state, but they’re still a conservative state on the whole. (Southern Idahoan here, so I know how it is. Sometimes our area is called “Northern Utah.”) Anyway, it is really a nice change. Good for those kids for calling out the teacher and good for the rest who gave her the immediate boot. And so happy for that boy that he finally has a family after two failed adoptions. Wish I could give him a hug!

  11. Lena says:

    While this is obviously horrible I am thankful that this little boy has two supportive dads, 3 courageous classmates and a decent and competent school acting fast and acting right. This could have gone so much worse than it did. And it’s so wonderful to hear that a little boy who had been stuck in the foster system for years finally gets a good family.

  12. Other Renee says:

    So impressed by how this was handled and incredibly impressed by these three young ladies who acted with kindness and compassion.

  13. JoJo says:

    This makes me want to weep.Yesterday I read about a father in Florida who saw some gay p0rn on his pre teen’s son cell phone.He made his son put some clothes in a bag and he dropped his pre teen son off on the side of the road near a closed police station.He left the boy there saying the police would find him a new home.He left him there with no money,food,water.Fortunately a bystander saw the boy called the police and the man was arrested.
    I know these stories are not really related but bigotry,homophobia,racism,hatred in general just makes me want to weep.

    • schmootc says:

      Some people really should NOT be parents.

    • holly hobby says:

      WTF. That is really cold. How can you do that to your own flesh and blood?

      • insertpunhere says:

        The percentage of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ is astronomical. A lot of parents do this. It’s not okay at all, but it’s common, and I wish more people knew that so we could have more resources for kids.

  14. ME says:

    I’m so proud of those 3 girls. Whoever raised them did an amazing job !

  15. Thaisajs says:

    Can you imagine how hard it was for those three girls to find the strength of will to stand up to that awful sub and not just try to get her to stop, but to leave class and get the principal? They are 5th graders. That just blows my mind. I’m not sure I would have been that brave. As awful as everything is these days, it is so heartening when you see the next generation of kids can be pretty amazing.

    • Mo says:

      I think this is a good point for ally training. It’s really hard to do something by yourself, but it’s much easier when you are part of a group. Talk with your friends about having a secret signal to agree to stand up together if something goes wrong.

  16. BeanieBean says:

    That poor little guy. Opening up in front of others to say what you’re thankful for & getting such hatred in return? I feel for him.

  17. Me says:

    I remember having a sub in after school care and she tried to teach me something so racist I could never type it. She was an adult and I was a kid and I told her I knew that wasn’t true. I told my mom and she dismissed her as the religious nut who has it all wrong and my heart knows the truth. Moral of the story here is there are a lot of people who should not be around children or anyone for that matter.

    • Mo says:

      One of the problems is that people who wash out as full-time teachers (or aren’t able to get jobs) will often then work as substitutes.

  18. holly hobby says:

    This upsets me so much. WTF lady can’t you keep your opinions to yourself? And the so called family values party had the nerve of spouting shit about teachers “indoctrinating” children. So this is ok too?

    I’ve watched DWTS during the period Louis was on. A prince of a man. He’s a really great dancer and was so considerate to all his dance partners.