Wash. School Apologizes to Teacher Fired 42 Years Ago Over Sexuality
The members of the Tacoma School board in Washington state issued a formal apology Sunday to a former high school teacher who was fired 42-years ago because he is gay, Seattle's ABC-affiliate station KIRO-TV reports.
Jim Gaylord was a social studies teacher at Wilson High School for 12 years but was fired in 1972 when school administrators learned he was gay. He said the few years after his firing was a "very unpleasant" experience, but he managed to get through the tough times thanks to family and friends.
Gaylord tried to sue the district - he had received excellent reviews prior to his firing - but nevertheless lost. The Washington State Supreme Court upheld a court ruling against him. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case.
After Gaylord was let go, he became a librarian.
KIRO-TV obtained the 1975 court ruling, which includes testimony from the school's administrators at the time Gaylord was fired. John Beer, Wilson High's assistant principal at the time Gaylord was teaching, told the court, "I don't believe a homosexual meets the standards, the professional standards, the community standards, that we would expect of a classroom teacher."
The district 's board president, Kurt Miller, told KIRO-TV, "that was another time."