Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Take Action: Pro-Life Teacher Says He Was Fired Over Religious Beliefs

by Bethany Monk, CitizenLink: An Oregon school district on Monday fired a pro-life teacher following his opposition to a series of Planned Parenthood presentations.

Bill Diss had taught at Benson Polytechnic High School since 2002. When presenters with the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) came to his classroom at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, he asked for identification. He was surprised when he learned that TOP is a Planned Parenthood program.

Because of his religious convictions, he asked to be excused from the presentations. The school principal denied that request, according to the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF). School administrators then conducted classroom observations. Diss was placed on paid administrative leave last spring.

“Bill Diss is a well-qualified teacher with a track record of success,” said LLDF President Dana Cody. “As the circumstances surrounding this termination demonstrate, Mr. Diss has done nothing that would merit being fired from his job.”

Diss taught computers, electronics, math and technology at the school. He has also taught several classes at the community college level. During his first five years of teaching at Benson, he received proficient or better ratings — as well as positive compliments — in his reviews, according to LLDF. His teaching methodology has remained substantially the same.

The legal group said Diss became a target in 2007, after speaking out against the construction of a new Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Portland. He participated in opposition activities during non-working hours, according to LLDF; he did not bring his political or religious convictions into his classroom instruction.

School administrators, however, began complaining about his political activities. Shortly after, his teaching came under “sudden, rigorous scrutiny,” according to LLDF:
Complaints, negative evaluations, letters of reprimand and formal meetings became a regular part of Mr. Diss’ life at school for as long as he engaged in outspoken, public opposition to Planned Parenthood.Diss told FOX 12 he was terminated because school officials were uncomfortable with his stance.

“After they found out about my beliefs, they just kept trying to make my job tougher and tougher, and I kept doing what they wanted, but then they would say it wasn’t enough,” Diss explained. “I was with those kids for 11 years, and I just really felt like they took those kids away from me.”

Cody said LLDF is considering its next steps.

“LLDF will pursue every possible avenue in defending Mr. Diss’ rights in this matter, and hopes to see his rights ultimately protected.”

Take Action: Ask Board Members to Reinstate Bill Diss
Urge members of the Portland Public School board to respect the private views of pro-life teacher Bill Diss and to reinstate his position at Benson High School.

Tags: IPor-life, teacher, fired, religious beleif, Benson Polytechnic High School, Oregon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the Greater Fitchburg For Life. Thanks!

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