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Washington School District Apologizes for Firing Gay Teacher in 1972

schoolPost submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digitla Meda Intern 

Forty-two years after being fired for being gay, a Washington teacher finally received a formal apology from his former school district.

Jim Gaylord taught social studies at Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington, until he was fired in 1972 after confirming rumors about his sexuality to a school administrator. Decades later, the Tacoma School District has issued a formal apology to Gaylord acknowledging the mistakes of the past.

“I offer a sincere apology to Mr. Jim Gaylord. Jim, thank you for continuing to teach us,” Kurt Miller, the Tacoma School Board president, said at a fundraiser on Sunday, according to the Seattle TV station KIRO. “We cannot make up for the mistakes of an unfortunate past, but we can at least acknowledge them and let those affected know that regret doesn’t end when the old guard moves on." 

The fundraiser was for Oasis, an LGBT center in Tacoma. Michelle Barroga, a member of the Oasis youth council, brought Gaylord's story back into attention after interviewing him about his struggle. Seth Kirby, the program’s executive director, then asked Miller if an apology would be possible. 

Gaylord is a HRC Federal Club member.

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