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School apologizes for firing teacher 42 years ago

School Apologizes for Firing Teacher 42 Years Ago

TACOMA – The Tacoma school district apologized to a former teacher tonight, more than 40 years after they fired him for being gay.



Q13FOX reports: Jim Gaylord didn't think he would ever receive a standing ovation inside a Tacoma school -- not after he was fired by the district in 1972 and lost a lawsuit to get his job back a few years later.

"It's a kind of a closure," he said about the reception he got. "I got over it years ago, but this does complete the process."

Gaylord taught at Wilson High School for more than a decade. By all accounts, he was liked by his students and had positive evaluations. However, when he admitted that he was gay, he was fired on the grounds that he was 'immoral.'

"The 1972 decision was written within the guidelines at time, but it does not reflect the values and morals of the district now," said Tacoma school board president Kurt Miller. "I offer a sincere apology. Jim Gaylord, thank you for continuing to teach us."

The apology came during an event celebrating Oasis, a support and resource center for LGBTQ youth in Tacoma.

"That made it special," said Gaylord. "I volunteer for them and donate money, so it means a lot."

Gaylord says that it was an appropriate occasion to not only look back at his fight for equal rights and respect, but to also look forward.

"I wanted to speak to the youth," he said on stage tonight. "Many of us have made history here in Tacoma. We need you to carry forward the work."

Gaylord said many times over the years that people have asked him why he stayed in Tacoma after being fired. He said that he didn't want to live in exile. He's glad now that people know you don't have to leave Tacoma to be who you are.

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rweruss July 14 2014 at 11:48 AM

Why would you apologizes for something that was correct when it was done? It's like apologizing for being a slave owner 150 years ago it was the norm then and they broke no laws.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
12 replies
Deborah July 14 2014 at 12:42 PM

I am sick to death of the GAY LBGT people getting badges of honor for saying something as ridiculous as this.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
6 replies
coopdabomb July 14 2014 at 12:32 PM

I wouldn't want him to teach my children now or then.

Flag Reply +18 rate up
12 replies
kcarthey July 14 2014 at 11:33 AM

How much Greatness our Nation has lost because of outdated prejudices, how much greatness we continue to lose for the same reasons.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
6 replies
redwingirish July 14 2014 at 12:04 PM

Sexually challenged teachers should NOT be teaching children. They apologized for doing the RIGHT thing!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
14 replies
Mike July 14 2014 at 11:30 AM

How about coughing up a few bucks for the hassle?

Flag Reply +9 rate up
4 replies
dashdzl July 14 2014 at 11:49 AM

It was surely a different time of ignorance. Students are inspired their whole life sometimes by teachers. Mine was and is. Too bad they lost a rich educator that had the guts to speak of partly who he is.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
dogonahog48 dashdzl July 14 2014 at 2:06 PM

Not who he is, what he is. But don't expect me to go crawling to a but ******.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
gserlin dashdzl July 14 2014 at 4:54 PM

dogonahog: If you insist on posting stupid comments, you might check your spelling before pressing that BUTTon

Flag Reply 0 rate up
chuckhalper July 14 2014 at 12:18 PM

This has to be AOL's 1000th article on gays so far this year. Care to guess when number 2000 will hit? Smart money is on August 20th.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
mociambz July 14 2014 at 12:24 PM

they should still be doing it

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Roger mociambz July 14 2014 at 6:23 PM

Yes....they should STILL be apologizing to ALL the teachers fired for this stupid reason.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ntweety7777 July 14 2014 at 11:42 AM

If I were him I would tell them to take that apology and put it where the sun dont shine. 42 years really.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
3 replies
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