Teacher resigns after being threatened with termination for displaying pride flag in classroom
A parent complained the teacher "would potentially teach their child to be gay."
A US teacher has resigned after he was threatened with termination for having a rainbow pride flag on display in his classroom.
Just two days into the new academic year, John Wallis, a teacher from Missouri, was called into a meeting with administrators at the junior high school he taught at.
There, he was told that a parent called the school regarding a pride flag and other inclusive signage that he displayed in his classroom. They were said to have been concerned that Wallis "would potentially teach their child to be gay."
In a Twitter thread, Wallis explained that displaying the flag and signs "was an attempt to make my classroom more open and welcoming for all of my students, and nothing was ever taught about the flag because it stood there as a reflection of my classroom as a safe space for my LGBTQIA+ students."
He said several students thanked him for the display, saying they "wouldn't know where else to go."
NBC reports that during the meeting with the school administrators, one of whom compared the pride flag to the controversial and deemed racist confederate flag, Wallis was told to remove the flag and signs.
When he did, Wallis said students asked why they had been taken down.
"I answered truthfully while expressing that, if students had a problem with who I was, there were other open classes," he Tweeted.
"This led to three or more calls from parents accusing me of pushing my agenda in the classroom."
The teacher added that he was asked to sign a letter agreeing he wouldn't "discuss human sexuality or my own personal sexuality in the classroom."
NBC, who viewed the letter, reports it stated that if Wallis was "unable to present the curriculum in a manner that keeps your personal agenda on sexuality out of your narrative and the classroom discussions," the school would "ultimately terminate your employment."
The teacher signed the letter but resigned the following day, saying on Twitter that it was the reason for his resignation.
"Indeed, it appears that there is a different set of rules if you are an LGBTQ+ educator," he wrote. "There is never a problem when a heterosexual teacher displays pictures of themselves and their spouses in a classroom, but I have a flag and all hell breaks loose."
He has since filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education.
"My administrators chose to believe the bigotry of parents over their building's teacher," he continued. "To say I am devastated is an understatement.
"To my fellow teachers at NJHS, I am sorry to be leaving so quickly and under these circumstances. To my students, I still love you and wish you the best with your new teacher. To the parents, I hope your children know just how special they are," he finished.