HRC Blog

Fired Openly Gay Teacher Receives Apology from Washington School District

Last month, the school district in Tacoma, Washington, announced that it would apologize to Jim Gaylord, a high school teacher who was fired for being gay in 1972. The school board officially apologized in a special proclamation last week.

Gaylord taught social studies at Wilson High School in Tacoma until he was fired after confirming rumors about his sexual orientation to a school administrator. 

The proclamation was read by board member Karen Vialle, one of Gaylord’s former students in 1960. She fought back tears as she described Gaylord as “a brilliant young teacher, ” one of the best she ever had.  Vialle mourned the loss kids in the district had by not having had Gaylord as a teacher.

Watch the entire proclamation here. The proclamation begins at the 1:00 minute mark.

It is because of stories like Gaylord’s firing forty years ago that HRC has worked tirelessly to pass laws that prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Schools are especially in need of better treatment and visibility of LGBT people. HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools program provides LGBT inclusive resources and tools to elementary schools to in order to prevent bullying and bias, embrace family diversity, and create gender inclusive environments. 

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