Nick Popadich: Male teacher who was bullied online for wearing makeup gets support from community
FLINT-SAGINAW-BAY CITY, MICHIGAN: Today, the internet is a space for anyone and everyone to express themselves. People on social media are free to explore for themselves and create a (virtual) safe space. It has also become a medium of self-expression for many.
Nick Popadich, an English teacher at Grand Blanc High School, is one such person. The family man and father of two has recently been on the receiving end of a lot of flak after photos of him wearing makeup and jewelry were reportedly shared in a Michigan community Facebook group.
As per some local reports, some people didn’t like the make-up that Popadich was wearing on his face - the look included blue lipstick, oversized sunglasses and a nose ring.
"Yes sometimes I wear makeup and express myself in a certain way," the father of two said. He added that he also does it to be a role model to queer children. "Teachers need to represent every student. And we have plenty of people that look a certain way, but we also need to have other people that are going to be there for kids and be a role model for kids that do feel differently or are going to express themselves in a different way."
Popadich reportedly did not see the actual post on the Grand Blanc Residents Uncensored page, but many others did. "Once I got back to my phone - I got all these texts that were saying - they were warning me like Nick - you gotta check this out - somebody’s bashing you on social media," he said.
Local reports said that the post read "Is it true this man teaches at grand blanc high school? This is not acceptable as a role model for kids easily influenced."
But it looks like Popadich is a beloved member of the community as many jumped to his rescue, sending love and support his way. According to ABC, hundreds from the community came to defend the English teacher.
"At first, it was just that heart palpitation kind of like oh what’s going on and then it was just that pleasant surprise of hearing everyone sending me well wishes."
One Facebook user writing, "I personally love it and celebrate it in my household." Another user reportedly wrote how much they loved it and said, "Say you’re homophobic without saying you’re homophobic."
"It is so important that we remind the world and our youth that it’s OK to be different. It’s OK to be you… Nick Popadich has been highly (positively) influential for many former GB students including myself," another local, one of Nick Popadich’s former students, reportedly shared in her own post in the group. "The former post which has now been deleted represents the ugliness that sadly still exists in the world, but the love and support in the comments was a reminder of the difficult (but necessary) work that’s been done and the direction we’re headed," she added.
"Nick Popadich represents individuality, self-love, diversity, and uniqueness. They continue to create a safe space and be a safe person for all students and I think it’s important to spotlight on that and give credit where it’s due."
Popadich also shared his thoughts about the hateful ideas. "Let me affirm that I will not tolerate it. If there was ever more of a time to have an equity and inclusion committee, it is now."