Mitch Stein, the former assistant water polo coach at Charter Oak High School, was fired from his position several months ago, after some of his Facebook and Myspace pictures were shown to the school principal, who then deemed them as inappropriate.
These pictures that are causing such an uproar? A photo of Stein wearing eyeliner, surrounded by men wearing bustiers, wigs and make up. Another picture shows him taking an exaggerated bite of a corndog at the county fair. Harmless fun or unsuitable for a school employee? Unbelievably, the principal of the school called them obscene due to their “sexual content” and fired him.
Stein has since filed a wrongful termination suit against the school district, arguing they held him to a different standard because he is gay. He wants his job back to stay close to his daughter, who is a freshman at the high school this year and a ranked water polo player.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time the Charter Oak Unified School District has been accused of anti-gay sentiments. Another incident in 2003 involved a gay male teacher who filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint against a school administrator. Moreover, other gay teachers have reached out in support of Mr. Stein’s claims noting that the District has what appears to be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and that Mr. Stein was “too open” about his sexual orientation.
Further, many parents and students have rallied around Stein’s cause – even some who don’t agree with homosexuality. “We shouldn’t be judging anybody,” said one parent. “His private life has nothing to do with coaching the water polo team.” Continued the parent who has two sons on the water polo team.
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