Back in 1972, James Gaylord was fired from his job as a social studies teacher when a school assistant principal found out he was gay. Forty-two years later, the school is issuing him an apology.
Gaylord sued the district after his termination and the case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, where they agreed with the school district’s decision and refused to hear his appeal.
“If Gaylord had not been discharged after he became known as a homosexual, the result would be fear, confusion, suspicion, parental concern, and pressure on the administration by students, parents, and other teachers,” the state Supreme Court majority opinion read.
It was announced this week that the school board president, Kurt Miller, will issue Gaylord a formal apology. It’s not totally clear what sparked the sudden guilt, but nonetheless, it matters.
“In retrospect, I guess I could have denied it, or refused to answer,” Gaylord told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2004. “But I figured that if it had gotten to the point where the assistant principal was visiting me at home, there wasn’t much possibility a denial would accomplish anything. I would do it all over again,” Gaylord said. “There were a lot of people who thought it was a losing battle. But it still advanced the cause for equal rights.”