PORTLAND, OR — A Portland-area teacher who was escorted from his local high school by police over his continued opposition to Planned Parenthood has been fired as district officials voted this week to terminate his long-standing teaching contract.
As previously reported, Bill Diss, an 11-year math and computer science teacher at Benson High School in Portland, was removed from the school by police this past March because he refused to allow the organization in his classroom. Planned Parenthood had visited Diss’ class to urge students to sign up for its Teen Outreach Program (TOP) as it was seeking to recruit youth throughout the school.
Diss has been speaking out against the organization publicly since 2007.
According to reports, Planned Parenthood of Columbia Williamette began promoting the program at Benson High School last year, which allegedly contains teaching about premarital sex, contraception and abortion. Last September, two representatives from the organization showed up at Diss’ door, hoping to speak to students. However, the math and computer science teacher, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, would not let Planned Parenthood enter and asked the representatives to leave.
Following Diss’ refusal to allow the representatives into his classroom, the principal and vice principal of the school paid Diss a visit and temporarily removed him from the class. Planned Parenthood also filed a complaint against the teacher. The next day, he was forced to sit in on a Planned Parenthood presentation.
“They were extremely aggressive in obtaining the children’s signatures by promising them all sorts of gifts and cash,” Diss said.
Later, Diss also took issue with TOP permission forms that were being sent home with some students, which bore his name. His attorney contacted Planned Parenthood and the school, demanding that they retract statements on the form that appeared as if Diss approved of the program. They threatened a lawsuit, stating that Diss was being harassed for his beliefs about the organization.
Ever since, Diss says that the school has been sending him regular notes that question his teaching skills and methods. He has been required to attend numerous hearings, and last month, he faced a formal misconduct hearing that weighed whether or not he could keep his teaching credentials. While some contended that Diss was “rude” to students and others, the teacher asserted that the allegations were cloaked to avert that he was being targeted due to his stand against Planned Parenthood.
On Monday, the board for the Portland Public School District again deliberated the controversy surrounding Diss. According to The Oregonian, several supporters gathered at the meeting holding “We Love Mr. Diss” signs and spoke out in his defense. Diss also presented one last plea to the board as well.
“Diss … asked the school board to consider the ways in which he was targeted by Planned Parenthood. He reminded them that his teacher reviews had been exemplary until he took a stand against Planned Parenthood,” Students for Life of America outlined. “He also mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars he brought in grants to the school.”
However, the board ultimately voted 6-1 to terminate his teaching contract. Legal options are now being considered.
“Bill Diss is a well qualified teacher with a track record of success,” Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, wrote in a news release on Tuesday following the vote. “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’ rights in this matter, and hopes to see his rights ultimately protected despite PPS’ actions.”