Gay Teacher Catfished By Students Forced To Leave School—And Parents Are Outraged

“He's still being punished after becoming a victim.”

A North Carolina high school teacher has been made to leave his school after two students tricked him into sending intimate photos over Grindr.

Brian Anderson and Brittney Luckenbaugh, both 16, are accused of posing as a 35-year-old man on the app, where they interacted with David Laughinghouse, a French teacher at Swansboro High School. The teens convinced him to send compromising pictures, which they then shared with classmates.

Brian Anderson and Brittney Luckenbaugh onslow county sherrif's department
Onslow's County Sherrif's Department

A warrant from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office states that the teens did “knowingly disclose an image of another person… without the affirmative consent of the depicted person.” They were released on $5,000 bail and must appear in District Court on June 15.

Sheriff Hans Miller said the investigation remains active and could not give details, but confirmed “we are potentially looking for other incidents of catfishing.”

The school’s public information officer confirmed Laughinghouse, 51, had been suspended with pay during the investigation. (His name was also removed from his classroom door.) 
Laughinghouse has been reinstated, but students and families are upset he’s been transferred to a media lab at another school to teach remotely.

“He’s still being punished after becoming a victim,” reads a petition. “A source close to Mr. L says that he is devastated by this decision. This ’compromise’ effectively isolates him from his support system.”

The petition, which has received more than 4,100 signatures, is asking the school district to reinstate Laughinghorse at Swansboro.

Kay Comuntzis Getsinger, an eighth-grade teacher at Swansboro Middle, commented that she planned on attending a school board meeting this week to speak on Laughinghorse’s behalf. “David did not deserve this and now those ignorant, mean-spirited students have not only hurt him but will live with this the rest of their lives.”

Laughinghouse has been at Swansboro for 16 years.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.