Mitch Stein, a gay dad from Pomona, CA with a partner and two daughters, is suing the Charter Oak Unified School district for wrongful termination. He claims he was fired from his position as a high school water polo coach only because he is gay.
The firing happened over two Facebook photos from years ago that his school principal deemed “obscene.”
From ABC News:
According to Stein, the Facebook and MySpace photos were sent to school principal Kathleen Wiard anonymously. He said he had never personally met her until the day she called him into the office to fire him, calling the photos “obscene.”
He also said her questioning suggested that she falsely equated homosexuality with pedophilia.
ABCNews.com obtained the photos. One, showed Stein fully clothed being lifted up by five men in drag. In the other, he had an open mouth and was ready to eat a corn dog.
“As we know from Michelle Bachman, the ones of eating a hot dog make people look ridiculous,” said Stein’s Los Angeles lawyer, Brad Kane.
Obviously, the cowardly anonymous tipper had gay on the brain. People always blame the photo, rather than look at why their own minds perceive something “obscene.”
The school district adamantly claims Stein’s homosexuality has nothing to do with it. Charter Oak Unified Superintendent Mike Hendricks responded, “I cannot comment except to say, as I have done in the past, that Mitch Stein was not terminated due to his sexual orientation.”
According to Attorney Kane, “[The photos] were years old. But taking them down was not sufficient. They terminated him because they didn’t want ‘people like you close to children.’ What does that say?”
It’s angering that educators are still trotting out ye ole pedophilia claim. Stein was going to leave the school, but his teenage daughter, who’s a student at the school, urged him to stay: “No, Dad. If we leave, they have won.” From the mouths of babes.
Stein has received lot of support from others at the school, and continues to participate as president of the water polo team’s booster club. Huzzah to Stein for sticking around, and for his bravery in standing up for his rights.
[Image by tpower1978 via Flickr/Creative Commons]