by Steven Ertelt | Portland, OR | LifeNews.com | 12/17/13
Planned Parenthood is after the career and livelihood of a distinguished, highly-qualified, good high school teacher, Bill Diss, who had the audacity to tell Planned Parenthood that they were not allowed in his classroom.After a second hearing last night, that pro-life teacher, Bill Diss, has been fired.
The school board for the Portland Public School District voted to terminate Diss’ contract after Planned Parenthood’s lobbying effort.
Diss experienced censure in his teaching career beginning in 2007 when he publicly opposed the building of a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in downtown Portland. The current action follows Mr. Diss’ opposition to being forced to facilitate presenters from the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), a program administered by Planned Parenthood, coming into his tutorial session to recruit students.
Diss’ legal representatives complained about the action in an email to LifeNews.
“Bill Diss is a well-qualified teacher with a track record of success,” states Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. “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.”
Students for Life of America, which has been closely monitoring the case and had a representative attending the meeting, informed LifeNews of the results.
“Last night, in a vote of 6 to 1, the Portland Public School Board voted to terminate Math and Computer Science teacher Bill Diss. After a protracted battle with the school district, Diss and concerned community members had gathered once again to attend the Portland Public School Board meeting to express their concerns over the treatment of Bill Diss,” SFLA said.
SFLA’s report to LifeNews continued:
Among those who testified on behalf of Bill were his fellow math teacher, Dave Demaris, who testified to Diss’s abilities as a teacher and contributor to the school. Parents of students that Bill had taught over the years spoke of his care and concerns for his students. One Latino mother testified that Bill was the only teacher who ever came to their community events or tried to great her in Spanish. She said “He has helped us. We want him to teach our children and our children’s children.” She also mentioned that Diss had helped her nephew when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant and that the couple had chosen life as a result.
Diss also spoke in defense of himself and 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. He also mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars he brought in grants to the school. After listening to the public comments, the school board recessed for private consultation.
Upon reconvening, the school board chose to lump the vote on Bill Diss along with the other item in the business agenda, a vote on solar panels. The move was so unexpected that one school board member, Steve Buel, realized only after the vote that they had lumped the two decisions together and requested to change his vote to a no. All the rest of the board members: Carole Smith, Ruth Adkins, Pam Knowles, Greg Belisle, Tom Koehler and Matt Morton retained their yes votes.
During the recess, Bill and his lawyer declined to comment on what Diss’s course of action would be if the school terminated his contract.
Secular Pro-Life, another group that has been following Diss’ plight, also commented on the firing.
“Mr. Diss warned his students not to trust Planned Parenthood, which was on the campus for a sex education program. Planned Parenthood has, among other things, been caught providing false information about prenatal development in order to make abortion appear more acceptable,” it said. “Mr. Diss may have taught his students a more valuable lesson through this ordeal than he has in any classroom. His resolute commitment to doing the right thing, in the face of oppression and ridicule, is very admirable. The students of Portland, Oregon deserve to keep a teacher of such conscience and courage.”
“Sadly, they have lost their teacher. Worse, the young people of Portland now know the consequences of crossing the powers that be. They know that by speaking up for what is right, they risk put their jobs on the line. They know that the safe course of action is to keep their mouths shut,” the group added. “What a horrible lesson for them to have to learn.”
Diss has a history with Planned Parenthood dating to 2007 when he led community opposition to a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility being built in a minority neighborhood in Portland. He raised Planned Parenthood’s ire again when a “health education team” came into his computer science classroom uninvited and attempted to enroll his students in the Health and Human Services’ Teen Outreach Program (TOP).
One of TOP’s goals is to prevent teen pregnancy, and the team who came to enroll Diss’ students (using monetary incentives) was hired by—you guessed it—Planned Parenthood. When Diss – unaware of whether the ‘team’ had been background-checked or had received sex/child abuse certifications – asked Planned Parenthood to leave his classroom.
When his principal arrived at the scene, she told the Planned Parenthood workers to ignore Diss’ request to leave. Diss then asked his principal if he could be excused from the room while Planned Parenthood was there, and she told him his moral beliefs weren’t enough grounds for him to be excused.
Diss has taught Technology, Math, Computers and Electronics at Benson High School since 2002. He has also taught several classes at the community college level. He is highly regarded in his abilities and his success both by students themselves, by their parents, and fellow teachers.
Diss is the only teacher in the state of Oregon who has been certified as qualified to teach college level computer science to high school students for dual credit. His initiative and hard work have attracted outside grants to Benson opening up even greater opportunities for Benson students. For the first five years at Benson High, Diss was rated as proficient or better, with numerous positive compliments in his reviews. Diss’ methodology and teaching style has remained substantially the same in all his years of teaching.
The positive reviews took a dramatic change for the worse, however, when Diss began to speak out in opposition to the building of a new Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Portland. Diss was involved in opposition activities on his own time, and did not bring his political or religious convictions into his instruction in the classroom. Nonetheless, he began to experience complaints about his political activities from school administrators, and his teaching came under sudden, rigorous scrutiny. Complaints, negative evaluations, letters of reprimand and formal meetings became a regular part of Mr. Diss’ life at school for as long as he engaged in outspoken, public opposition to Planned Parenthood.