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