Decades after he was fired for being gay, teacher Jim Gaylord received an apology Sunday from the Tacoma, Washington, school district that stripped him of his job as a history teacher at Wilson High School in 1972.
The apology sprang from an oral histories project for Oasis, a drop-in, support, and resource center for LGBT youth.
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“Youth really wanted to talk to elders in the community and ask them what has their lives been like coming out, and what good and challenging differences being out can make in someone’s life,” Oasis executive director Seth Kirby told The Olympian
A student interviewed Gaylord, and Kirby began to wonder if the district would offer an apology.
Tacoma school board president Kurt Miller said records show Gaylord was an excellent teacher and there was no other reason to fire him, ABC News reported
“We honor and respect gay teachers, and they shouldn’t be afraid that anyone would retaliate them,” Miller said, according to ABC News. “Forty-two years later, all we can do is to apologize. We want to give him the dignity back.”
Gaylord, now 76, fought the decision in a long unsuccessful court battle that ended when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear it.
Gaylord said the apology offered him closure.
“I got over it years ago, but this does complete the process,” Gaylord said, according to Q13 Fox
Twitter users tweeted their reactions.
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