Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.

"Can I ask you a question?" the caller followed up. "Are you gay?"

"Yes, ma'am," Coley said.

Then things got interesting.

"What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you came out?" the woman continued.

Coley, who's tended bar for about 17 years, was a little caught off guard. In all her years of experience fielding requests and helping others working in the service industry, she'd never received a question like that.

Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

"My son just came out to me," the woman continued on the other end of the line. "And I don't want to say anything that may mess him up in the head."

Coley thought for a moment. Then she asked the woman if she accepted her son for who he is.

The woman answered "yes."

"You should definitely let him know that you love and accept him!" Coley said. "I think everything will be OK from there!"

The woman thanked Coley for her input and they parted ways.

Later that night, in the early hours of Jan. 19, Coley decided to post the entire interaction to her Facebook page, noting how "random" it all had been.

In the days following, her post went viral, amassing over 1,500 likes and hundreds of shares.

So I got the most random phone call at the bar tonight! 😀Me:Good evening Thankyou for calling Sipps!Lady on phone: Is...
Posted by Kara Coley on Friday, January 19, 2018

The post's comment section soon filled with love and gratitude for Coley's simple but endearing answer.

"My heart is truly touched by this," one Facebook user wrote. "A parent wanting to support correctly, and a beautiful response. This is progress. This is love and acceptance in the rawest form."

"Kara, this old granny lesbian is so grateful for you, and for a parent that thought outside the box to get advice!" another user chimed in. "Keep being you!"

"[The response] has been amazing," Coley writes. She believes her post struck a chord with friends and strangers alike because people are looking for encouraging news: "Every day people wake up and there's so much negativity in the world — people just need a breath of fresh air!"

For parents to an LGBTQ child, it's still vital to understand the facts too, Coley noted: "Educate yourself [on LGBTQ issues] and do a little research."

Ideally, parents should have access to better resources than their local gay bar when it comes to getting help with LGBTQ parenting. At the end of the day, though, the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure your kid understands you're there through thick and thin.

"Just knowing you have someone in your corner takes a little weight off your shoulders," Coley wrote.

Learn more about being a good ally as a parent of an LGBTQ child at PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). If you're a young LGBTQ person who needs help, resources are available at The Trevor Project.

This article originally appeared on 1.24.18


Mom calls out teacher who gave her son a 'zero' grade for not providing class with supplies

Her viral video sparked a debate as to whether or not providing school supplies should be mandatory for parents.


A zero grade for not providing school supplies?

The debate as to whether or not parents should supply classroom supplies is not new. But as prices continue to rise, parents are growing more baffled as to how they can be expected by teachers to provide all the various glue sticks, colored pencils, rulers and other various items the incoming students might need.

What’s even more perplexing, however, is penalizing the children of parents who won’t (or can’t) provide them.

This was the case for Shanitta Nicole, who discovered her son received a zero grade in his new school for not bringing school supplies for the entire classroom.

Nicole was especially surprised by this reaction since she had already gone through the effort of making sure her son had every supply he needed from the school’s list, which was slightly different than the one they previously had.

And yet, the 7th grade teacher informed her son that he was still expected to provide for the classroom, not just himself. And, thus, a zero grade, for failing the assignment, so to speak.

Even though Nicole thought the rule was “weird,” she went out and bought the bulk items, which included tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, pencils, Expo markers, and red pens.

And yet, the next week—her son still has a zero. Concerned, Nicole emailed her son’s teacher.

“I’m like, ‘hey…my student has a 83 in the class and everything else in the class is 100s and 98s and he still has a zero for something called ‘classroom supplies.’” she said in a video.

“‘We bought the supplies anyways, but I don't feel like it's the parents' responsibility to supply your classroom. And I definitely don't think it's appropriate to assign a grade to students based off of whether or not they've supplied your class with supplies. That doesn't make any sense.’”

@shanittanicole Am I doing too much? #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

And while Nicole’s email did get the teacher to reconcile the grade, there was no mention to her other concern regarding the responsibility for parents to provide the entire class with supplies.

“So, I emailed the principal because I just, I might be extra, but I just want to see what's going on. Why do I have to buy supplies for the classroom?” the frustrated mom concluded.

Nicole’s video quickly went viral on TikTok, and several weighed in to agree that the teacher’s actions were misguided.

“That is so unfair!! Especially for the kids whose parents CANT afford groceries let alone classroom supplies,” one user wrote.

Another added, “You are not wrong. It is 100% ok for [the teacher] to ask for supplies, but mandate it for a grade? Absolutely not.”

And this point is truly what Nicole took umbrage with, as she noted several times in the comments. It has less to do with being asked to help and more to do with her son’s grade depending on it.

In a follow-up video, Nicole shared that the school principal did end up reaching out, notifying her that while, yes, teachers are allowed to ask for donations, it should never be mandated.

@shanittanicole Replying to @yafavv._.dancer😍😘💞😍😍💞 Graded Supplies Update #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

“What the teacher was trying to accomplish, but it definitely wasn't appropriate,” the principal told Nicole.

While the teacher might have not handled this situation in the best way, it goes without saying that this is a larger systemic issue—one that isn’t exactly fair to parents, teachers and students alike.

Most public school teachers spend a significant amount of their own money on classroom supplies, to an average of $673 per year, according to a recent survey of more than 1,100 educators by the Association of American Educators (AAE). That number only goes up for teachers in high poverty schools.

At the same time, according to a 2022 survey with Savings.com, the typical parent also spends nearly $600 on school supplies. Plus things like clothes, backpacks, haircuts etc.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s no use placing full responsibility or blame onto teachers or parents. Because either way, students get caught in the crossfire. This is clearly a universal burden that needs attention.

This article originally appeared on 10.5.23


People are applauding the dad who bought a Mustang for his teenage son living with cancer

“Dad, I’m going to squeeze a few extra months of life just to be able to drive this.”

A 2020 Mustang.

Many parents swear that a child’s first car should be a “beater.” First, it teaches them to have something to strive for in life. Second, the kid will probably put some nicks and scratches on the car, so it’s best to start with something where no one will care. Third, the insurance will be cheaper.

Finally, a kid should have to earn having nice things and starting them off with a brand new Mercedes isn’t going to instill much work ethic.

Even though a large number of parents say a teen’s first car should be a clunker, many are applauding Joe Tegerdine, a father in Springville, Utah, and his wife Kerry for buying their son Joseph, 18, a 330-horsepower 2020 Ford Mustang.

Unfortunately, Joseph has osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer and has already outlived his prognosis.

Joseph was working at Sodalicious in hopes of saving up enough money for a Mustang, but time was running out for him to reach his goal and still have the time to enjoy the car. His father shared the reason why he bought the car on X, where it received nearly 14 million views. “For those wondering why I’d buy my 18yr old son a 330hp Mustang, well, he’s been given months to live and can’t work long enough to buy one himself,” the father wrote. “His comment on the way home, ‘Dad, I’m going to squeeze a few extra months of life just to be able to drive this.’

“Once he got his terminal diagnosis, I spoke to my wife and said there was no way he has enough time to save money – so I went out and bought him [the Mustang],” he said, according to SWNS.

“He was so excited. He told me he wants to squeeze out a few extra months of life to drive the car,” Joe continued. “He really wants to live life to the fullest. He is not interested in spending the last few months hooked up to machines.”

In 2019, when Joseph was 13, he began complaining of pains in his knee and it made sense because he was an active athlete who played football and ran track and field. When he went in for an X-ray and then an MRI, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and started chemotherapy 10 days later. In 2022, Joseph would undergo a leg amputation and it was found the cancer spread to his lungs and hip.

Joseph’s uncertain future has brought out the best in the family, inspiring them to make the most out of their time with their son. Their commitment is a reminder for all of us to appreciate the people we have in our lives because you never know what the future holds.

"When my son was first diagnosed, I had to make a decision. Either curse God and die or try to make the best of a really bad situation. With the perspective of what it would be like to experience sudden loss, I decided to be grateful. Grateful that we’ve had the 18 years to build memories and enjoy him," Joe wrote on X. "Even now, with the only treatments left to prolong life and manage pain, I’m thankful he’s still with us, squeezing out the best that life can offer under less than ideal circumstances. My heart is still broken, but I know it could be a lot worse."

Recently, the family has been making the most of their time with trips to Tokyo, Japan, Los Angeles to see Taylor Swift and Florida to swim with dolphins. After Joe’s tweet about the Mustang went viral, Ford CEO Jim Farley invited Joseph to visit Ford Performance Racing School, which he plans to attend in April.

"If you look at my day-to-day life, it's about as ideal as it gets. I've got my dream car. I have a family that I love, a girlfriend that I hang out with all the time and that I love, I play piano, which I love, I read books that I personally pick on topics that interest me. It's fantastic," Joseph told Today.com. "Feeling fulfilled in the future is the hard part," he said. "But I've managed to make my day-to-day life fulfilling for however long I have."


Teacher goes viral after sharing signs of 'subtle bullying' she sees in her classroom

These behaviors might be harder to spot, but just as important to stop in their tracks.


Whetehr subtle or over, bullying cannot be tolerated

When we think of bullying, we might first picture wedgies, dunking heads in toilets, stuffing folks in lockers…the kind of stuff you’d see in virtually every kid’s movie in the 90s.

But in real life, bullying can be much more insidious.

Ms. C, a teacher who previously went viral for sharing the high school cliques that have endured the test of time, recently coined a term for this type of behavior, which she called “subtle bullying,” and explained what it might look like in a classroom.

“Here's what it looks like, a student that is less popular, maybe has a disability, will be talking and a kid who is a bully will be looking at all of his friends across the room and snickering and making little faces,” she says in the video.

“I will lose it if I see that,” she continues, saying that while she is “chill” with a lot of things, like cursing, eating in class, student’s addressing her by her first name, even sass to a certain degree, this is her “number one” behavior that will not be tolerated.

To address the issue, Ms. C usually stands “directly by the bully's desk and stares them in the eyes the whole time that other student is talking.” Or she’ll throw them out of the room. The only other time she might do that is if there’s a safety threat. And it seems clear that in her opinion, subtle bullying is a safety threat.

“If you are a teacher and you are not fiercely protecting your most vulnerable students, what are you doing?” she concludes.

@stillateacher basically we’re gonna learn and respect each other #teacher #teachertok #teachersoftiktok #highschoolteacher #teacherlife ♬ original sound - Ms. C

Subtle bullying, according to Ms C, also includes “racism, sexism, homophobia,” which warrants “an intense one-on-one conversation” that hopefully resolves the issue. But if it doesn’t, she gets others involved until the student recognizes the comment was “unacceptable.”

Ms C’s video got a lot of comments from fellow teachers confirming how common this type of bullying is, or anecdotes from folks who were on the receiving end of it.

“The subtle bullying is such an issue. I saw it so much when I subbed,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I’m so glad you can actually spot subtle bullying like that. My teachers would actively tell me it wasn’t happening when I’d try to talk to them about it.”

“Subtle bullying is so bad! We did karaoke in class and had to stop because of popular bullies 'encouraging' and recording,'' one person shared, while another wrote, “Subtle bullying for seven years took me most of a decade to get over. Ruins your self confidence. You are changing lives!”

Subtle bullying might be harder to spot, but it’s every bit as damaging as physical violence or name-calling, and therefore every bit as important to address. In a follow-up video, Ms C. offers a helpful tip for teachers when it comes to spotting this type of behavior.

She suggests giving students a survey where they answer if there’s anyone one they’d rather not sit by (tell them it is completely confidential). If there is a student who has been bullying others, their name will come up repeatedly. Obviously it’s not a foolproof perfect strategy, but it’s a starting point.

The one constant in bullying, whether it’s subtle or overt, is that it’s not acceptable. And it’s the responsibility of the adults in a child’s life—parents, faulty, teachers—to make sure that it doesn’t become a habit that carries over into adulthood.