We received an update from Bill Diss last week. Bill, the loved and well-respected high school teacher whom the school district in Portland sought to fire last month because he stood up to Planned Parenthood when they invaded his classroom, shared the following:
Today, Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM at the Headquarters for Portland Public Schools I will be with my attorney to present our grievances. Please pray.
We have been awaiting the verdict from the hearing officer who heard Bill’s case before other school faculty and supporters of Diss last month. In the update, Bill explained that the Portland school district released a “terse and strongly worded” statement that the hearing officer had decided that Bill should be dismissed. This means that the school, which has discriminated against Diss over his pro-life activism for years, will be allowed to fire the teacher for his well-intentioned opposition to Planned Parenthood in his class.
On December 16th, in a vote of 6 to 1, the Portland Public School Board voted to terminate Math and Computer Science teacher Bill Diss. After a protracted battle with the school district, Diss and concerned community members had gathered once again to attend the Portland Public School Board meeting to express their concerns over the treatment of Bill Diss.
Among those who testified on behalf of Bill were his fellow math teacher, Dave Demaris, who testified to Diss’s abilities as a teacher and contributor to the school. Parents of students that Bill had taught over the years spoke of his care and concerns for his students. One Latino mother testified that Bill was the only teacher who ever came to their community events or tried to great her in Spanish. She said “He has helped us. We want him to teach our children and our children’s children.” She also mentioned that Diss had helped her nephew when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant and that the couple had chosen life as a result.
Diss also spoke in defense of himself and asked the school board to consider the ways in which he was targeted by Planned Parenthood. He reminded them that his teacher reviews had been exemplary until he took a stand against Planned Parenthood. He also mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars he brought in grants to the school. After listening to the public comments, the school board recessed for private consultation.
Upon reconvening, the school board chose to lump the vote on Bill Diss along with the other item in the business agenda, a vote on solar panels. The move was so unexpected that one school board member, Steve Buel, realized only after the vote that they had lumped the two decisions together and requested to change his vote to a no. All the rest of the board members: Carole Smith, Ruth Adkins, Pam Knowles, Greg Belisle, Tom Koehler and Matt Morton retained their yes votes.
During the recess, Bill and his lawyer declined to comment on what Diss’s course of action would be if the school terminated his contract.