School District Ordered to Reverse Anti-Gay Action

A California state official has ordered San Francisco’s Rio Bravo-Greeley Union School District to rescind an anti-gay action.

Officials of the school district agreed to removed 15 students from the teacher James D. Merrick after the parents complained that they were uncomfortable with the teacher’s mannerisms and his public support of gay rights. Parents began complaining around the time that Merrick became involved in a campaign that called for the resignation of the Rev. Douglas Hearn. Hearn had publicly stated that gays and lesbians were “sick” and should not be allowed to teach children.

Chief Deputy Labor Commissioner Jose Millan ruled that the school district had discriminated against Merrick based upon his “perceived sexual orientation” and has ordered the school to return the 15 students to Merrick’s classroom.

Merrick’s lawyer, Myron Dean Quon of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, commented on the ruling, saying “The decision vindicates all of us who believe that bigotry and hate have no place in the classroom.”


AP - March 10, 1999

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