A teacher in Washington state who was fired "for being gay" more than four decades ago received a public apology from the school district on Sunday at an event aimed at celebrating LBGT students. "PROUD Outloud," held by the Oasis LBGT Youth Center, featured profiles of the gay community in Tacoma. One of the honorees chosen was Jim Gaylord, a former social studies teacher who was dismissed from his 12-year career when the school board of Wilson High School deemed his sexual orientation to be "immoral."
But Gaylord's story inspired the director of Oasis to reach out to the school to see if they would offer an apology, and the Tacoma Public School Board president, Kurt Miller, agreed. "A person’s sexual orientation is not a matter of morality or immorality," Miller said during the apology. "We cannot make up for the mistakes of an unfortunate past, but we can at least acknowledge them," he added. Gaylord, now 76, told NBC News on Friday that the apology would offer some "closure." More importantly, he said, he hoped it would encourage the gay students in attendance "and help to put some gay teachers at ease."
Peter Haley / The News Tribune via AP
Brian Johansen, right, reads the words of Jim Gaylord during a rehearsal at the Oasis Youth Center in Tacoma, Wash. on July 9. Gaylord was fired in 1972 from his teaching job in Tacoma because he was gay. His story will be included in a student presentation at Sunday's fundraiser for the center, and the Tacoma School District will present him with an apology for the firing.
— Elisha Fieldstadt
First published July 13 2014, 8:44 PM