Gay 'Teacher of the Year' Harassed by Ore. School, Wins Settlement

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Brett Bingham, Teacher of the Year 2014 with President Obama (Facebook)

How do you go from being honored with a "Teacher of the Year" to getting fired for poor job performance in one year? Open your mouth about your sexuality and watch the bigots come out of the woodwork, Vox reports.

In 2014, Brett Bingham, a special education transitions teacher in Multnomah, Oregon was named the state's "Teacher of the Year."

"I am honored to have this opportunity to recognize him for his outstanding service to our students and our state. Brett has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights and opportunities of our special needs students," wrote Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)'s Deputy Superintendent in a press release announcing Bingham's award in 2014.

As part of his Teacher of the Year duties, Bingham was expected to deliver numerous speeches. When he made reference to his sexual orientation during one of these speeches a colleague took offense. According to Bingham, this led to harassment at work. When he filed a grievance with his union, he was fired by the district in retaliation.

Officials at MESD allege Bingham was fired because they had trouble with his "performance, insubordinate behavior, and focus on matters other than his students."

After the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries looked into the matter, it was determined that Bingham had indeed faced anti-gay workplace discrimination and harassment at the hands of his colleagues and the administration.

A summary memo from the Bureau about the case read: "If the case had gone forward, a determination of substantial evidence of discrimination and retaliation on the basis of [Bigham's] sexual orientation, whistleblowing activity, and for opposing unlawful practices ... would have been recommended."

Bingham was awarded a $140,000 settlement from MESD.


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