Drew Mikkelsen, KING-TV, Seattle
TACOMA, Wash. Jim Gaylord lost his teaching job because of his sexual orientation and on Sunday, the local school board president issued a 42-year-old apology.
Gaylord, who was a history teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, was fired in 1972 after a vice principal found out Gaylord was gay.
Members of Oasis, a Tacoma-based nonprofit drop-in center for gay, lesbian and transgender youth, approached the school district about giving Gaylord a public apology during a fundraiser for the group. Tacoma school board president Kurt Miller said the gesture was long overdue.
'I offer a sincere apology to Mr. Jim Gaylord,' said board president Kurt Miller. 'Jim, thank you for continuing to teach us.'
Gaylord, who became a librarian after getting fired, tried to sue the school board, but the state's Supreme Court upheld the district's decision to fire Gaylord. He also helped get legislation passed in the state to make it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals.
Gaylord told the audience at Stadium High School he appreciated the apology.
'People shouldn't have to hide things away about who they are,' he said. 'I want you and everyone else to know the impact of doing the right thing just cannot be overestimated.'