DETROIT -- Michigan high school teacher Jay McDowell says he didn't like where the discussion was going after a student told his classmates he didn't "accept gays."

So McDowell kicked the boy out of class for a day.

In return, the teacher was suspended for a day without pay for violating the student's free speech rights.

The incident has sparked intense debate in Howell, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit. It's gained far wider attention since the Livingston County Press and Argus released video of a 14-year-old gay student from another city defending McDowell at a Howell school board meeting.

The video has drawn thousands of YouTube views. Howell schools on Monday hosted a community forum to discuss tolerance and diversity issues.