A Utah boy is speaking out after he says he was bullied by a substitute teacher for being adopted by two gay men.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, 11-year-old Daniel van Amstel opened up about the experience, which happened on Nov. 22 at his elementary school just outside Salt Lake City.
It began when the teacher asked students what they were thankful for, to which he replied that he was “thankful for my dad and dad, my family, my dogs and everybody that I live with now,” the fifth-grader told CBS.
Though the boy has lived with his parents, Louis and Josh van Amstel, for six months, he was only officially adopted on Thursday.
Daniel spoke of the excitement leading up to the adoption in class, which reportedly led to the teacher making homophobic remarks and questioning why he’d be happy to be adopted by them.
“That’s when one of the three kids, ones in my class, they stuck up for me and said, ‘Let’s stop,'” Daniel said. “But she kept going and she said: ‘Are you going to be gay?'”
“I was very mad,” he continued. “It’s not right … to insult other families, even if you don’t like them.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”
When asked what the fifth-grade student would like to say to the teacher now, he said: “I would tell her, ‘You should have made better choices in life.'”
Daniel’s father, Louis van Amstel, is a professional dancer on Dancing With the Stars. He became visibly choked up as his son was speaking.
According to CBS News, the teacher in question was removed from the school and fired by the staffing company for which she worked.
“I feel she could have done better. Even if she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to say that,” Daniel said.
“But I’m glad she got her lesson taught. It’s called karma.”
In November, Louis took to Twitter to share a video detailing his thoughts on the incident.
Many came to the family’s defence, with one writing: “As a Utahan and mother, I support you and your lovely family.”
“Daniel has so much to be thankful for,” another tweeted. “Being adopted and having a family to love him is amazing.”
For Daniel, it doesn’t matter what kind of family he has.
“It just matters if you love them or not,” he said. “And yes, I do love them.”