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Florida Teacher Jerry Buell Won't Apologize for Anti-Gay Facebook Rant

An Orlando-area high school teacher is refusing to apologize for an anti-gay rant on Facebook even while the school district investigates whether he broke ethics rules and if his teaching is driven by his religious beliefs.

According to a report from WKMG-TV, after New York approved gay marriage in July, social studies teacher Jerry Buell took to Facebook and called same-sex marriage a "cesspool."

"I said that it made me sick," he told the TV station.

One of his "friends" saw the post and complained to the school district.

Buell argues that the comments had nothing to do with his job as a teacher; he made them on his own time and on his own computer -- even during the summer when school was not in session.

"I'm exercising my rights, First Amendment rights, guaranteed in the Constitution, supported by the state of Florida -- on Facebook," said Buell.

But the school district doesn't see it that way.

"Obviously there was a lot of people looking at his Facebook page, so it probably wasn't necessarily as private as he had hoped," spokesman Chris Patton said.

Patton said in addition to freedom of speech, there are separation of church and state issues at play here. That's because Buell is not shy about touting his religion.

"If people don't believe in the Bible, it's why we have problems," said told WKMG.

The district is also looking into whether Buell's religious beliefs affect the way he teaches.

Buell stood tough while appearing before the school board Monday.

"Do I apologize? No," said Buell.

A decision is expected by the end of the week.


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