…in 1972. His name is Jim Gaylord, he'd done nothing wrong, and in fact what got him into trouble was something we would all agree was the right thing to do. He listened and tried to be supportive to a gay student who was on the verge of committing suicide, never telling the kid he was gay himself. Take it away, Tacoma News Tribune:
In 1972, a Wilson student who knew a gay adult friend of Gaylord’s approached the teacher to discuss the student’s attraction to other boys.
“As I recall it was almost totally inconsequential,” Gaylord said of the talk. He did not reveal his orientation to the boy.
Sometime later, the boy tried to commit suicide. While being interviewed by the police the boy related that he had spoken to Gaylord, who he had presumed to be gay.
The police went to Wilson and the vice principal came to Gaylord.
“I didn’t think that merely saying nothing or denying it would be very productive,” Gaylord said. “They had gone this far. They weren’t going to give up. So I said, yes, it’s true.”
A few weeks later, on Nov. 21, 1972, Gaylord received a letter telling him he was to be fired.
Read the whole story. Gaylord fought hard to keep his job and lost. His only "crime" was not lying when the vice principal showed up at his house to ask him if he was "a homosexual." The story's a great reminder of how far we've come (and how awful school boards and the Supreme Court can be). I used to get called "gaylord"—and "fatty" and "fat gaylord" and "gaylord cocksucker"—in high school. Somehow I don't think gay kids get called "gaylord" as much as they used to. Gaylord will get a formal apology at an event on Sunday. The person who orchestrated this particular apology? A current Wilson High School student.