For two years Julia Frost taught English at Sultana High School in the Hesperia Unified School District in San Bernardino and then she was fired. She says it’s because she’s openly gay and that the school is a “hostile environment” for her and gay students.
Maybe so …
The trouble seems to have begun when Front, along with a fellow teacher who isn’t gay, co-sponsored a GSA [Gay/Straight Alliance] at the school and began working with students, teaching them how to make formal complaints regarding "criticism and open-hostility" directed at them by other students and teachers.
In other words, she was trying to help bullied students stand up for themselves.
Frost says when students told her of being bullied because of their sexual orientation, school administrators tried to discourage them from filing formal complaints, and she was told administrators also threatened to out those students to their parents.
Shortly after Julia Frost helped a student file a about another teacher who told a classmate to "take the gay headband off" in class and then commented "that's so gay" in a disparaging manner, she was told her contract would not be renewed.
“Today I’m sitting here, and I’m not in a classroom, and that’s just really, really devastating to me” -- Julia Frost
And so she filed a lawsuit against Hesperia Unified School District that alleges unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation because of her sexual orientation. The suit alleges that administrators created a hostile environment for Frost and LGBTQ students, and investigated Frost for "teaching homosexuality."
“I heard things from teachers like, ‘Which one is the man and which one is the woman in your relationship?’” -- Julia Frost
Odd though, that while allegedly “teaching homosexuality” Julia Frost also received an outstanding performance review.
The lawsuit also alleges that the Gay/Straight Alliance’s club's activities and announcements were censored and blatantly left out of the student handbook listing school organizations.
David McLaughlin, the district’s superintendent, said:
“While the district may not discuss personnel matters, Ms. Frost’s allegations that the district dismissed her because she ‘blew the whistle’ with the ACLU about students’ equal rights, specifically the rights of our LGBT students, is absolutely false. Sadly, her efforts serve only to fuel the argument that public education cannot dismiss teachers who do not meet district expectations without controversy and, potentially costly, legal battles.”
McLaughlin is referring to an incident last March, when some students went to the ACLU for help, alleging that the school tried to censor the Gay/Straight Alliance and tried to impose unfair gender-specific dress codes. Frost said the complaints were made independent of her.
Since then, the ACLU has praised the school for making adjustments:
“They are implementing concrete changes to improve the climate for LGBT students in the district. We are very pleased the district took our allegations very seriously.”
Whether or not those students contacted the ACXLU with the help of Frost or not, is irrelevant. It seems to me she was, as I said earlier, teaching these students to stand up for themselves, to ask to be respected for their sexual orientation; to ask, simply, for respect. And for that this teacher who received positive performance reviews during her two-years at the school was fired.
Frost is suing for unspecified damages and demanding to be rehired.