March 16, 2009
March 16, 2009
PORTLAND — Planned Parenthood has filed a complaint with the state alleging wrongdoing by a Portland teacher who for two years has led a campaign against the abortion agency’s plans for a clinic in Northeast Portland. As reported by The Oregonian, Planned Parenthood claims that Bill Diss, a Benson High School math and electronics teacher who founded the anti-abortion group Precious Children of Portland, improperly took banners and signs from the clinic’s groundbreaking in October.
With the strong support of local churches and Christian groups, Precious Children has sponsored a series of marches and protests against the planned clinic on city urban renewal land at the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Beech Street. The latest such march took place Jan. 24 and attracted 400 people.
Diss, who is Roman Catholic, was joined in leading the event by Isham Harris, pastor of Upper Room Church. They charge Planned Parenthood has a history of using abortion to reduce the African-American population.
David Greenberg, president of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette, told the newspaper that Diss trespassed on private property and carted off $300 worth of banners and signs. He questioned whether Diss is an appropriate role model for the students he teaches.
Planned Parenthood filed a police report and also the complaint with the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. Police contacted Diss and he returned the items, and no charges were filed against him.
Saying that he broke no laws, Diss explained he had been given the signs by the company that supplied them for the groundbreaking.
Noting that teachers are free to participate in outside activities on their own time outside of the school days, a Portland Public Schools spokesman indicated it was not looking into Planned Parenthood’s complaint. However, state law mandates that the state commission must look into any complaint that comes to it. Diss has been interviewed by an investigator and was subpoenaed to show up for a second interview in late February.
American Life League, a national pro-life group, issued a press release claiming that Planned Parenthood wants Diss’ teaching license revoked. “Diss is one of the finest teachers I’ve met,” said Jim Sedlak, the league’s vice president. “His devotion to the children in the classroom naturally extends to the children in the womb.”
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