Public school math teacher Bill Diss has been placed on paid leave from Benson High School in Portland, Ore., apparently because of his opposition to the presence of Planned Parenthood on campus.
The 11-year math teacher on March 19 was placed on leave and recommended for dismissal. He told the Oregonian newspaper that he was given a few minutes to gather his belongings and then escorted off campus by police.
According to a suspension letter obtained by the Oregonian, Diss was accused by school officials of blocking students from attending a Planned Parenthood program because of his religious beliefs and of telling students to “shut their mouths.”
“(Students) also quoted you as saying, ‘they would end up on 82nd (Avenue) and that they kill over a million babies every three years,'” according to the letter, signed by the school’s principal and human resources director.
Diss told the Oregonian the reference to 82nd Avenue, a local area known for prostitution, was a misunderstanding, but he admitted telling students his views on abortion and Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is a partner in the school’s Teen Outreach Program, which claims to be intended to prevent teen pregnancy. The program is funded by a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Diss said he blocked two Planned Parenthood workers from entering his classroom in September because they lacked proper ID. He was reprimanded for that incident, and the workers gave their presentation, though school officials accuse Diss of interrupting them.
Diss, a Roman Catholic, is known at the school for his views, but students interviewed by a local TV station said it didn’t bother them.
“He doesn’t do it a lot, but students do make fun of him for being against it and everything,” junior Ty’sha Harrell told KGW-TV. “When he does talk about it, he does have really good views and everything. Sometimes he goes too deep into it. He brings religion into it.”
He also helped organize a protest of Planned Parenthood at a December school board meeting.
A school district statement said, “We respect the rights of all employees to their own political, religious, social and other beliefs and affiliations and expect all employees to conduct themselves professionally in their work, most especially with students.”
Teachers are human beings, and it’s inevitable that they are going to share some of their beliefs with students. You can’t help but wonder, though, how much more “respectful” of Diss the school would be if he were a liberal telling kids to stock up on condoms.