A student asked a straight teacher why he wore a rainbow shirt. His answer was perfect.

Leland Schipper's students wondered why he wore a rainbow shirt since it might make some people think he's gay.

He teaches high school math, but like most educators, Leland Schipper teaches other lessons too. An exchange with two students over a shirt Schipper wore is a perfect example.

Schipper shared the story on his Facebook page along with a photo of himself in a t-shirt bearing a rainbow-filled outline of the state of Iowa, where he teaches.


"Student 1: Mr. Schipper, I thought you were straight.

Me: I am.

Student 1: Then why are you wearing that shirt?

Student 2: It’s because his wifey is pretty, so he can do what he wants. Schipper don’t care...

Student 1: Yeah, but what if they’ve never seen pictures of his wife. They would think you’re gay.

Me: They might...so what?"

Student 1: Mr. Schipper, I thought you were straight.Me: I am.Student 1: Then why are you wearing that...

Posted by Leland Michael on Friday, April 19, 2019

Schipper went on to explain why he felt it was important to show his students that he was not embarrassed or threatened by people thinking he's gay.

"I’m convinced the root of unhealthy masculinity is homophobia, and that becomes entrenched in middle and early high school years. Homophobia only ends if straight allies model to young kids, boys in particular, that being called gay isn’t an inherently negative thing and doesn’t require a defensive response. It’s difficult to do, but if we take the homophobia out of schools, we not only improve the lives of LGTBQ+ youth, but all kids who fear being labeled as gay by their peers."

One commenter tried to bring in Bible verses, and Schipper responded beautifully.

A commenter tried to get religious with Schipper, writing, "It would be more inspirational if you taught them 1 Timothy 3-11!" This Bible verse has to do with wives being respected and exercising self-control and faithfulness. Strange comeback, but okay.

Leland had a brilliant response, though, which could also be applicable to anyone who tries to quote Bible verses in defense of discrimination:

"I also don’t inspire them with Timothy 2:9 when they show up with braided hair, and I don’t whip out Leviticus 19:19 when they wear polyester shirts to my class. I don’t believe in cherry picking sins from the Bible and shaming others with them, especially children. Instead my faith inspires me to make sure all kids feel safe and protected in my classroom. Biblically, Romans 2:1, means I do my best not to judge others, and instead love them as Jesus would—no matter what."

Welp, there you go.

Most comments were supportive, and many exemplified why this kind of allyship is needed.

Schipper's post has been shared 31,000 times, and has more than 2,000 comments. More than a few of those commenters shared what this post meant to them personally.

One commenter wrote, "As someone who got bullied a lot in Middle School for what the other kids perceived to be my sexual orientation (I wasn’t out at the time, but turns out they were right) I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You just may be saving some kid from going through the same Hell that I experienced those three long years."

Another wrote, "You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. It warms my cold, scarred heart to see an ally that is bold, brave, and bright enough to educate, as well as _educate_, the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you, sir, for helping to foster an environment unlike the one I grew up in, so today's youth might live a life unlike the one I have."

"I got shamed by students and other teachers in school for being “the feminine” gay," wrote another. "So, I thank you for your open discussion and thought provoking process among straight allies."

One commenter said he had gotten his face smashed in when he was young in the 90s because he refused to publicly state whether he was gay or straight. Like Schipper, he was straight, but he was willing to take some heat in order to not satisfy people's prejudices. "Not looking for a pity party," he wrote, "just saying, don't let nostalgia fool any of of you...not one minute of human history is better than this one...and the next one will be better too. Good on you dude. More of this."

Indeed, good on you, Mr. Schipper. More of this, please.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."