Was A High-School Water Polo Coach Fired For Being Gay?

A water-polo coach fired from Charter Oak High in Covina, CA, says he was deep-sixed because he was gay, pure and simple.

Mitch Stein, an assistant water-polo coach at the school, says his termination came after an anonymous letter with printouts of photos he posted on Facebook was sent to principal Kathleen Wiard. One depicted Stein with a group of drag queens, the other showed him posing suggestively with a corn dog, according to Glendora

Though Stein offered to delete the photos from his online pages, the principal refused to entertain an alternative to his firing. When Stein challenged the firing and asked whether a heterosexual man would lose his job if he posted a photo of himself together with scantily clad cheerleaders, he was told that cheerleaders in uniform were acceptable company in a photograph.

Not surprisingly, Stein is filing a discrimination suit against the school. His lawyer, Brad Kane, told the Whittier Daily News that Assistant Superintendent Terry Stanfill made a point to tell the coach he wasn’t being fired because he was gay, but because he had posted “offensive” photographs. “When someone tells you ’Oh, by the way, we’re not doing it because you’re gay,’ there’s some question,” said Kane.

The teams was undefeated this summer while Stein was coaching and both parents and fellow staffers have come to his defense. “I think he’s a fabulous coach,” said Kim Cory, a parent of one of players who thinks Stein should be rehired. “From what I saw, he was very involved in their teaching.”

Image via Next Step Photo

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  • Steve

    When will the school board hold its meeting to discuss firing Terry Stanfill?
    Will that be before, or after the civil trial for wrongful discharge of Mitch Stein?

  • Cam

    Siiigh, so AGAIN, this will end up in court, the school will lose and be forced to pay and respond by having “Sensitivity training” for it’s staff. The person who fired him won’t be fired, and taxpayer dollars will be wasted.

    Just save the taxpayers the money and rehire the guy. Sorry to the school but men in make-up and a corndog in pictures are not fireable offenses no matter how offended the sad church lady wannabee principal is.

  • phallus

    Still think it’s sad that teaching (and coaching) in schools is still a closeted profession for the LGBT community. It’s too bad that Mr. Stein didn’t recognize the fact that Facebook is a big deal amoung kids. Had he known that he might have avoided posting those pictures. And yes, double standards for heteros are not fair.
    Mr Stein should find some other venue to protest his firing. Suing the school board hurts the students and burdens the taxpayers with court costs. The school board doesn’t care…. they don’t have to jusify a bottom line to stockholders.

  • Spike

    Reason #56,295 why not to have a Facebook page.

  • Mira

    Except that students are not allowed to “friend” teachers (I don’t know if it’s a law, but it’s a policy), so they never would have seen them. That would be like firing me for giving a nude photo to my girlfriend (although I’m not a teacher, so this is purely hypothetical).
    Anyway, the kids never would have seen them, so it doesn’t matter if he posted the pictures to FB.

  • Pete n SFO

    I read previously that the complaint was anonymous.

    Administrators should disregard any complaint that doesn’t have a name attached to it.

    And, when faced w/ a complaint such as this one, they ought to invite the person to live in the real world, where everyone but the most bigoted & ignorant understand that gay doesn’t equate with pedophile.

    Just like this thing on Southwest, gay happens, get the f over it, already.

  • the crustybastard

    Really? Fired over photos of eating a corndog and posing with drag queens, neither of which is even borderline illegal?

    For some people, the following is a logical argument: “You’re not being fired for BEING gay. You’re being fired for ACTING gay.”

    The same people would reject the logic of this argument: “You’re not being fired for BEING black. You’re being fired for ACTING black.”

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