Boy berated by teacher says he’s still grateful for 2 dads

U.S. & World
Louis Van Amstel

FILE – This July 31, 2015 file photo shows professional dancer Louis Van Amstel, a former cast member on “Dancing with the Stars,” at the 2015 Special Olympics Celebrity Dance Challenge in Beverly Hills, Calif. Amstel’s fifth-grade son was berated by a substitute teacher after he said he was thankful that he’s finally going to be adopted by his two dads. The boy’s classmates say the teacher said, “that’s nothing to be thankful for” and lectured the 30 kids in the class about her views on homosexuality. The substitute was escorted from the building. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah boy is speaking out after being berated by a substitute teacher for saying he was grateful for being adopted by his two dads, one of whom is a professional dancer from “Dancing with the Stars.”

Daniel van Amstel, 11, told“CBS This Morning” on Friday that he got angry when the teacher began insulting his family.

“Because it isn’t — it’s not right — nice to insult other families, even if you don’t like them. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it,” Daniel said.

The unidentified woman began lecturing the class on her view that homosexuality is wrong after Daniel answered a question about what students were grateful for during a pre-Thanksgiving lesson on Nov. 21.

The teacher was escorted from the classroom after other students walked out of the room to get the principal, and later fired from the staffing company that contracted with the Alpine School District south of Salt Lake City.

A classmate identified as Demi said everyone in the room was uncomfortable and Daniel looked scared, so she went to the principal’s office when the teacher refused to stop.

“I was a bit scared to go in there, but after that I knew I was doing the right thing,” she said.

Father Louis van Amstel, who has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” said the boy felt forced to remain silent during the teacher’s diatribe because his adoption out of foster care had not yet been finalized. After five foster families and one failed adoption, the boy didn’t want to risk losing the dads he’d lived with for six months, he said.

The adoption to Louis and Josh van Amstel became final on Thursday.

“I am thankful for my dad and dad, my family, my dogs and everybody that I live with now,” said Daniel.

Louis van Amstel said he doesn’t know who the teacher is, but he’d loved to have lunch with her to dispel misperceptions.

Daniel isn’t ready for that. “I do not like her. If I ever saw her again, I’d probably have a heart attack,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what family you have. It just matters if you love them or not. And yes, I do love them.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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