A high school teacher is accusing the Portland, Ore. public school system of firing him because of his anti-abortion views.
Bill Diss, formerly a math educator at Benson High School, was placed on administrative leave in March. This week, the school board voted 6-1 to dismiss him, The Oregonian reported.
Diss, a Roman Catholic, first found himself in hot water in September 2012 after he reportedly refused to allow employees from Planned Parenthood come into his classroom and speak to students.
As TheBlaze reported earlier this year, Planned Parenthood is a partner in the Portland school district’s Teen Outreach Program, aimed at preventing teen pregnancy, and funded by a federal Department of Health and Human Services grant.
The former teacher was apparently also active in bringing anti-abortion protesters to school board meetings.
But while Diss said that he’s being targeted for his anti-abortion opinions, administrators say he’s been rude to students and that his past behavior has damaged communications with students and co-workers alike.
In one suspension letter provided to the Oregonian, school officials accused him of trying to block students from attending the Planned Parenthood program because of his religious beliefs and told them to “shut (their) mouths.”
One student, a junior named Ty’sha Harrell, told the newspaper this year that the teacher sometimes went too deeply into his anti-abortion views and that he sometimes brought religion into the discussion.
Diss said he doesn’t preach his views in the classroom, but has said he answers questions about his views for students who ask.
Diss told KPTV-TV this week that he believes his problems started in 2007 when officials found out that he was protesting the construction of a new Planned Parenthood building.
“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,” he told the outlet. “I was with those kids for 11 years, and I just really felt like they took those kids away from me.”
A story from earlier this year has more:
The district has denied that Diss was fired because of his religious beliefs.
“Mr. Diss has said his termination was based on his religious beliefs and his right to free speech,” the district said. “That is not the case. The school district takes discipline of all employees seriously. Mr. Diss’s conduct and performance led to his removal from the classroom and termination.”
When he was dismissed on March 19, Diss said he was given a few minutes to collect his things and was escorted from school premises by police, according to the Christian News Network.
Diss plans to tutor students for the time being and is considering taking legal action against the district.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
Featured image via KPTV-TV