By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com August 26 2009 11:10 PM ET
An Oklahoma City teacher allegedly fired for encouraging support for LGBT students will be reinstated in the classroom, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
Joe Quigley was fired in May by the Oklahoma City school board on grounds that he neglected his duties and didn't follow school policies. But the gay teacher said that was not the case, and that he was targeted for firing because he spoke out against antigay bigotry.
"His outspokenness made him a very visible teacher in that district," Timothy Melton, Quigley's attorney, told NewsOK.com. "The administration at Northwest Classen High School has, for the last two years, done its best to set Mr. Quigley up to fail. Fortunately, he is too good a teacher and too strong a personality to be defeated by petty, nonteaching bureaucrats who put rules ahead of the children."
Kathleen Kennedy, a spokeswoman from the Oklahoma City School District, confirmed Quigley would be reinstated, though she's not yet sure at what school he will return. No one from the district has ever responded to Quigley's claims that he was targeted because of his pro-gay stances.
Quigley told NewsOK in an e-mail that he is looking forward to returning to work and is hopeful the district will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the sections in the student-parent handbook that cover harassment.