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Fired Portland pro-life teacher case advances

January 13, 2014

By Christian News Northwest

A California-based legal services organization indicates the battle is likely not over regarding the firing of Portland school teacher Bill Diss.

“Bill Diss is a well qualified teacher with a track record of success,” said Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) in Napa, Calif.. “As the circumstances surrounding this termination demonstrate, Mr. Diss has done nothing that would merit being fired from his job. LLDF will pursue every possible avenue in defending Mr. Diss’s rights in this matter, and hopes to see his rights ultimately protected despite (Portland Public Schools) actions.”

Diss, the Benson High School teacher who had accused the school district of retaliating against him for his pro-life views, was formally dismissed by the school board Dec. 16 by a 6-1 vote. Board member Steve Buel was the lone dissenter, saying he did not agree with the process that led to Diss’s firing.

In a two-hour public hearing in November, Diss and his attorney contended that his religious beliefs and his strong visibility in the pro-life movement — including organizing protests of Planned Parenthood entirely away from his work —were factors in the school district’s efforts to oust him. A devout Catholic, Diss led efforts made by concerned Christians against construction of Planned Parenthood’s Northeast Portland headquarters, which nevertheless opened three years ago. He also strongly objected when district officials told him he must allow Planned Parenthood’s sex education program in his classroom.

School officials claimed his firing was pursued solely because of unprofessional and disrespectful behavior on his part toward both his supervisors and students.

The firing has garnered national attention; Diss was interviewed live on Fox News Channel on Dec. 20 and his story also has been widely told on numerous pro-life blogs and web sites.

One of Diss’s defenders, Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, attended the November hearing and wrote afterward in a web commentary that “the Portland School District’s hostility to Mr. Diss’ worldview resulted in the deliberate misrepresentation of his teaching practices and classroom behavior.”

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Discuss this article

Bob Clark January 14, 2014

Portland Public Schools and government in general need to separate themselves more from charities like Planned Parent Hood. Planned Parent Hood does provide useful services for the public at large, but it has become too embedded in government functioning. Planned Parent Hood has more than equal access to government, and this is what is unfair.

Brian Robinson January 21, 2014

I do not follow the abortion subject closely but, as far as I can tell except for abortion, Planned Parenthood does not provide any services that are not available to the public through a GP or a specialist. It is difficult to accept that PP is a charity since they do charge for their services, and work for profit.

“They are going to be charging anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per abortion procedure,” she explained. “So it’s a very, very lucrative part of their business and that’s really what keeps them afloat.”

If the promise of affordable health care is true with the AHCA, then it should follow that Planned Parenthood should no longer need any government funding, or special status.

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