Seth Stambaugh
  • Leo Qin - Pioneer Log
  • Seth Stambaugh
Last night I broke the news that 23-year-old student teacher Seth Stambaugh, a graduate student in Lewis and Clark's teaching program, was barred from teaching in the Beaverton School District after making an "inappropriate" comment: telling a student who asked about his marital status that it would be illegal for him to get married because he would choose to marry a man.

Now there's some discrepancy over who made the final call to kick Stambaugh out of the district. When I talked with Beaverton School District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler yesterday, she noted that as a student teacher, Stambaugh was never technically an employee of the school district. "We requested a change of placement for this teacher," said Wheeler. That put the onus on Lewis and Clark to fulfill the request or deny it.

But Lewis and Clark public affairs director Jodi Heintz says Lewis and Clark did not make that decision. Instead, they received a phone call from the Beaverton district that informed them Stambaugh was barred. "We categorically deny that we had the final call on what happened with Seth," says Heintz.

Usually when conflicts arise between student teachers and their schools, says Heintz, Lewis and Clark finds a way to sit down and talk it out with the teacher or school. In this case, there was no discussion. "That is not standard operating procedure for how we operate with schools," says Heintz. "The fact that we were completely cut out of the process was an aberration."

Last night about 30 students and some faculty came out to an open forum on the incident at Lewis and Clark hosted by Unisex, a gender equity group on campus. The associate dean of the graduate school answered questions about the case as much as he could. Currently, Lewis and Clark is working to get Stambaugh a new student teaching position in the Portland school district.

"Our goal is to see Seth become a teacher and that means getting him a new placement," says Heintz. The Lewis and Clark Pioneer Log has a rundown of the open forum and how the issue is developing on campus:

“I first knew I wanted to teach when I was in seventh grade while doing community service as a tutor in a bilingual elementary school classroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico…[I] was drawn to Lewis & Clark’s undergraduate campus because of the one-year program in teaching offered at the graduate school. I also wanted to find a place more suitable than Albuquerque to be a queer teacher, and Portland certainly fit the bill,” said Stambaugh as he began his speech.

Here's a statement from the school spelling out exactly what happened:

The Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling first learned of Stambaugh's removal when student-teacher coordinator Cindi Swingen received an email from Sexton Mountain Elementary School Principal Don Martin on Monday, Sept. 13 stating that he had a concern about Stambaugh and wanted to talk to Cindi. Swingen called that evening (Monday) and spoke with Martin. In that conversation, Don described the incident and said he wanted Seth moved. Cindi followed up with an email asking Don to consider several questions about the decision-making process used to reach his decision.

On Sept. 14 Linda Griffin, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, called and emailed Principal Martin. Griffin received a voicemail from Beaverton School District Administrator Mark Moser and returned his call, but did not reach him and left a voicemail. Moser called and spoke with Griffin on (9/15) and Moser confirmed that the principal wanted him moved and that Moser spoke on behalf of the teacher, the principal, and the district.