After coming out in October, Michael Hill, a drama and art teacher at Seneca, Kan.'s Nemaha Central High School, began receiving anonymous threats. Several hateful letters warned him that his community would not tolerate him being out. The letters also included vile threats like "Queers will burn and so will you" and "We don’t want fags in our schools."
A photo taken of Hill dining with a male friend was circulated on Snapchat and became kindling for cyberbullying. He was harassed in the classroom and felt he lost respect at work.
“Homosexuals should not be teaching our kids,” one of the letters read. “In fact, I don’t believe they should be teachers at all. They are perverts and predators. They are not acceptable role models for our kids.” Others repeatedly said he should be fired for his identity.
After his car tire was punctured with a screwdriver and the word “f----t” was written in dust on his car, Hill reported the incidents to police, who were unable to identify the culprit.
“Things got ugly,” Hill told Sherman Smith of The Topeka Capital-Journal, “and I started to fear for my own well-being.”
Hill became terrified to leave his apartment at night and requested medical leave in mid-January. But after seven weeks of unpaid leave, administrators told him he had to return or resign.
“My option was to pack up and move.” he explained, "As a result of this I made the difficult decision to pack up and make a huge leap of faith and moved to Palm Springs, Calif."
Superintendent Darrel Kohlman expressed disappointment with the entire scenario, "He was the director of our plays, and he did a very good job as a classroom teacher. We’re sorry not to have him anymore."