By: Brendan O’Morchoe, National Director of Field Operations
As Planned Parenthood loses the control they’re accustomed to have over government funding and legislation, they may be getting a bit desperate. As they’re known to do, the organization takes to bullying when it gets uncomfortable. The Susan G. Komen saga is one example among many: If you try to stand up to us, they say, we’ll make your life hell. Their latest victim is a computer science teacher. At a high school.
That’s right: Planned Parenthood is after the career and livelihood of a distinguished, highly-qualified, good high school teacher, Bill Diss, who had the audacity to tell Planned Parenthood that they were not allowed in his classroom. Apparently, Planned Parenthood will rally tooth-and-nail to make sure that ‘hostile forces’ stay out of pro-choice women’s uteri (unless, of course, we’re talking about government funding of contraception), but informing Planned Parenthood that it is not welcome in a classroom is against the rules of the (lopsided) game.
Diss has a history with Planned Parenthood dating to 2007 when he led community opposition to a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility being built in a minority neighborhood in Portland. He raised Planned Parenthood’s ire again when a “health education team” came into his computer science classroom uninvited and attempted to enroll his students in the Health and Human Services’ Teen Outreach Program (TOP). One of TOP’s goals is to prevent teen pregnancy, and the team who came to enroll Diss’ students (using monetary incentives) was hired by—you guessed it—Planned Parenthood. When Diss – unaware of whether the ‘team’ had been background-checked or had received sex/child abuse certifications – asked Planned Parenthood to leave his classroom. When his principal arrived at the scene, she told the Planned Parenthood workers to ignore Diss’ request to leave. Diss then asked his principal if he could be excused from the room while Planned Parenthood was there, and she told him his moral beliefs weren’t enough grounds for him to be excused.
In an effort to end his career because he stood up for his beliefs (so much for free speech and conscience protections), the Portland school system, supported by Planned Parenthood, attempted to dismiss Diss and end his career.
Last night, pro-life advocates showed up en masse at a pre-termination hearing, in which Diss faced accusations from the school and presented his defense. They filled the room and assembled by the dozens outside to pray and witness with signs reading “Civil Rights for Bill Diss.” The hearing – which was supposed to be public at Bill Diss’ request—was held in the smallest room possible, which had a posted capacity of 92 but only 50 people were allowed inside at one time.
The principal of Diss’ school (who has a documented history of attacking and reprimanding Diss for his pro-life views) and vice principal testified against Diss citing instances of students “feeling uncomfortable” with some of the assignments Diss required from them in his math classes. Curiously, evaluations of Diss prior to 2007 were all exemplary. Only after Diss’ public opposition to Planned Parenthood in his community did the scrutiny and harassment begin. Fellow teachers and a teachers’ union representative dismissed the concerns raised by the principal and vice principal, citing evidence supported by Portland school laws that Diss had not committed any legitimate wrongdoings in his classroom over the course of his career.
Diss, whose teaching style is exemplary, has received hundreds of supportive letters from students, parents, and colleagues. Diss remained cordial throughout the hearing and support was overwhelming. The night ended in applause for Diss from supporters. A verdict has not yet been reached. The school board representative who was present at the hearing on Thursday night will make a decision at a later date which has not yet been announced to Diss or his union representative. Students for Life will be following the story and bringing you updates as they come available.