Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
the Inland Register
(From the April 18, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)
Archdiocese of Portland
PORTLAND – Officials from Portland Public Schools walked into Bill Diss’s classroom last week and told the veteran math and electronics teacher he’d been placed on administrative leave while district Superintendent Carole Smith ponders a recommendation that he be fired.
Diss, a pro-life leader and advocate for teen sexual abstinence, was escorted peacefully off the Benson campus by a security officer.
Diss and his attorney say the possible dismissal is mostly a result of his off-hours campaign against Planned Parenthood, which he blames for worsening promiscuity among his students. Diss, a member of Holy Rosary Parish and pro-life director for the Knights of Columbus in Oregon, says his public work is a way of living out his Catholic faith.
“I am a practicing Catholic and I am actively practicing my faith in the community,” says Diss, a 57-year-old father of grown children. “I look at these students as my own kids. I’ve never met a kid whose promiscuity or abortion was a positive thing. We are not built to be promiscuous. It breaks our hearts.”
Diss’ employee evaluations from Benson show steady improvement and regard from when he started in 2002 through ’07. It was only in 2008, after he began speaking publicly about Planned Parenthood, that the official assessments turned negative.
His 2012 and ’13 evaluations have been the most critical, claiming that he yells at students and spends too much class time on his computer and on the phone. He was suspended for three days in early March. Diss’s lawyer sees the teaching critique as cover for another agenda.
Portland Public Schools (PPS) is attempting to remove him because he is a vocal critic of Planned Parenthood and a supporter of unborn babies and sexual purity for adolescents, says James Leuenberger, a Lake Oswego attorney.
Matt Shelby, public schools district spokesman, said the district would not dismiss someone for living out religious convictions on personal time. “We fully expect all of our employees to have their own religious and political views and how they choose to express those opinions has no bearing on their employment at PPS.”
Benson officials began to criticize Diss beginning in mid-2007, after he began leading a campaign to stop work on a new Planned Parenthood building on Portland’s Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Diss, who appeared in local media, said the building gave young people the message that sexual activity and abortion are acceptable. He was reprimanded for making calls during his lunch hour and attending a prayer vigil on President’s Day. At a hearing, officials asked him what he said during the prayers.
“Next, you’ll want to know what I tell my priest in confession,” Diss told the panel.
– Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland)
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