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Tacoma School Board Apologizes To Teacher Fired Nearly 50 Years Ago For Being Gay

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SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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(CBS Seattle) — A Tacoma teacher who was fired in 1972 because of his sexual orientation received a formal apology Sunday from the school board that terminated him.

Jim Gaylord was teaching history at Woodrow Wilson High School 42 years ago when he was abruptly removed from his position after a vice principal found out Gaylord was gay. John Beer, who led the effort to terminate Gaylord, went on record saying he didn’t believe homosexuals met “the professional standards” or “the community standards” that are expected of a classroom teacher.

KIRO 7 reports the Tacoma School Board president addressed Gaylord at an annual fundraiser on Sunday, saying an apology to him was “long overdue.”

The event was put on for a local nonprofit drop-in center for LGBT teens. Gaylord was in attendance because a student volunteer with the nonprofit was presenting a project involving the ousted teacher.

After being fired, Gaylord became a librarian and tried to sue the school board but did not succeed. Despite having his case brought to the state’s Supreme Court, the decision to fire Gaylord was upheld.

However, Gaylord did help get legislation passed in Washington that makes it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals.

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