LGBT Teacher Fights Back At Discriminating School District Board, Makes History By Winning A Landmark Case (26 Pics)

Throughout history, whenever things have gone wrong and there has been injustice, people have fought to make things right. There are many incarnations of civil rights movements, each with its own mission to bring justice, equality, and peace among people.
And as it was in history, people still continue to fight for all that is right to this day. Brett Bigham, an American special education teacher, Oregon State Teacher of the Year, and a gay rights activist, among many other wonderful things, recently went to Twitter with a short recap of his fight and victory against a rotten school district.

Brett Bigham went to twitter to recap how he fought a morally rotten school district after becoming Oregon’s Teacher of the Year

Image credits: Brett Bigham 2014 Oregon Teacher of the Year
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

For the longest time, Bigham was discriminated against, controlled and silenced using threats of various caliber by his school

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

After expressing his sincere support for LGBT youth in his speech at the White House Honoring Ceremony, the school started trying to destroy him

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
“The supervisor who started all of this was the rotten apple. But, just like apples, the rot spread quickly and the district tried to cover it up. Sadly, their idea of “covering it up,” in their minds, was to try and destroy me,” explained Bigham.
“I try to only speak of my own experience, but over the past couple of days I have received tens of thousands of comments and messages. These have flooded in from links on Imgur, where three different versions of my tweets sat on their front page for a day, but also Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, chat groups about Star Trek, the Transgender community has been on fire, the messages are coming from everywhere. Most are of encouragement, but many have been teachers and workers sharing how they have been harassed and bullied. My case is extreme. I know that. It is why my case ended up in the Amicus Brief from Southern Poverty Law Center. But, I think what the real lesson here is: if this could happen to a Teacher of the Year, in Portland, Oregon (not the other one), the most liberal voting city in the United States, just imagine what is happening to LGBT teachers in the conservative areas.”

The school fought Bigham in any way they could, but he did not back down and defended his medically fragile students and himself

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

It seemed like everyone has turned against him as even the investigator was impartial to the issue

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Brett Bigham is a special education teacher who was awarded the title of Teacher of the Year back in 2014. The school he used to work for put great pressure on him when making appearances regarding the nomination—so much, in fact, that it was literally controlling him, demanding that he bring in his private mail from home and keep his mouth shut on anything that he was not approved by the school to talk about.
Since Bigham is gay and a gay rights activist, he was also threatened not to express his support for the LGBT community and was downright bullied for this. Until one day when he couldn’t stay silent about it and went against these exact school orders at the White House Honoring Ceremony.

Bigham then filed a state and federal claim against the district and the tide started to turn

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

After a number of glorious victories, Bigham only wanted one more thing—an appology

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Despite immense pressure from nearly everyone in Bigham’s immediate surroundings, he stood his ground fiercely and pulled through it. Given this, we’ve asked Bigham what kept him going. He had this to say: “The suicide rates of LGBT youth. When I was 15, my best friend came out to me. I hugged him. Told him I loved him. He drove home and put a shotgun in his mouth. My friend died because he thought that was a better path than being gay. He couldn’t see a future as a gay man because he never saw an out gay man.”
He continued: “When I accepted the nomination for Teacher of the Year, I had a discussion with my husband that it would mean some hate mail. We also discussed riding in the Portland Pride Parade together. My husband is incredibly shy, so he carefully chose the events he would attend. When he knew having a husband on my arm would be seen by LGBT youth, he was right there waving and smiling. But those were the only things he agreed to.”
“When Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Portland, she invited us to meet with her. Mike stayed home and read a book. Dr Stephen Hawking actually sent his assistant at Cambridge to strong-arm Mike into joining our meeting. We all know Dr Hawking’s computer voice. Imagine it chastising your spouse to get in a picture while he pleads and tries to wiggle out of it. He was in the picture. He was horrified when it made the news. He wanted to die when he got back to work and had a line of co-workers wanting to talk all about it. But, at the same time, he has been a fearless proponent for LGBT youth.”
“Gay marriage became legal during my year of service and pretty much every media outlet in Oregon showed up at what was supposed to be our private wedding. I was watching Mike’s face when the person in charge told us, ‘The film crews won’t leave. You have to either get married in front of them or go somewhere else.’ Mike looked at me in terror and I said, ‘It’s up to you.’ ‘I’ve waited a long time to marry you. Let’s do it.’ And so, even though I was under orders from my district I would be fired if I said any words publicly they had not approved, I did my marriage vows on live television. Mike, the shyest person I know, spoke louder than I did. So, that all said, we knew there are LGBT kids out there thinking about suicide because they don’t see a future. I was a gay kid once. Mike was a gay kid once. We never saw anything like us when we were younger. We needed to see them, but we couldn’t. I believe those wedding vows on live TV saved some lives. Mike did that.”
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

He requested an apology to be given to him, to his students, and to the taxpaying community

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Image credits: 2014ORTOY

During these tense moments, Bigham directed his anger and frustration towards co-creating a list of books for teaching equity

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
“I know my case is extreme. But the media did a very big disservice to me in all of this,” explained Bigham the challenges of his struggle. “My BOLI complaint was a public document, so I knew it would hit the media eventually. I very carefully kept emails and documents, all of the written orders and I had made sure I had the uniserve, Alan Moore, at most of my meetings.”
“When the news started to bubble out, the district quickly fired me and then began lying, in earnest, to the press. Just a look through the Wikipedia page about it , the articles linked, shows how the media published everything the district said as if it were gospel. They did this without asking me to address their claims. The district told the media I had missed 45 days of school as Teacher of the Year and that they had told me stop missing school and I refused. Those were all lies and I could prove it, but the media merely mentioned I contested the claims.”
“But, I was on retainer with the Oregon Dept of Ed, every day I missed went into the log book for mileage, accommodations, meals, and these were all signed off on by the district. They also had a sub for me every day I missed for TOY events, and those records existed. I missed 22.5 days total. But even that doesn’t tell the story. No media ever published the superintendent had ordered me to be gone one day a week, giving speeches and representing the district. She made an arrangement with the teacher who had my kids the year before to come in one day a week to sub. Nobody also mentioned that in the application sent in by the district for the award, that they had agreed up to 13 days missing minimum up to missing the entire year.”
“The superintendent signed this application. The media did the same thing when they fired me. The district sent out PRs that said I had been fired for refusing mediation. I was sitting in the mediation meeting, thinking we were going to mediate, when they fired me. The only thing I had refused, originally, is their mediation offer included that I had to take back my union, state and federal complaints for them to talk. I refused to take them back, but agreed to mediation. The union sat in the meeting with me, but the media continued to tell the district’s story until it got so extreme, even the media turned on them.”
Image credits: 2014ORTOY
What followed was a long battle between the school district and Bigham, eventually ending in legal action against the district, after which a number of its officials were removed from their posts. He did this to protect himself and, above all, the special needs students he was teaching and looking after. After a long wait, and much to Bigham’s surprise, the school district also issued a long-awaited apology, ending the otherwise horrible experience on a victorious positive note.
After he shared his experience in a Twitter thread, it went viral with a bunch of people thanking him and calling him a hero for his bravery and standing up for his students. The tweet is currently counting over 228,000 likes with around 71,500 retweets.

Eventually, there was an apology issued, which Bigham described as hell freezing over, putting a happy ending to an otherwise horrible experience

Image credits: 2014ORTOY
Lastly, we’ve asked Bigham what is some advice he could give to those going through similar situations. He said this: “I’ve been asked this before and my answers change. In my case, I was in the most liberal voting city in the country and it happened to me. Any LGBT teacher or employee, in any job, recognizes the importance of the Supreme Court ruling. The fact I’m a part of that ruling, in my own little way, means a lot to me. But it doesn’t mean we’re safe.”
“The civil rights amendment was decades ago. Those black boys dead on the street with bullet holes in their back are not going to tell you the Constitution is working for everyone. But, on paper, for the first time, we have equality. Now, we have to go make it happen. That happens by us being smart, keeping records, fighting back, looking for Civil Rights groups like ECRA Education Civil Rights Alliance to work with. (Disclaimer, I am one of their Leading Educators Ambassadors for Equity).”
“I used to tell people ‘come out of the closet when you know you are safe’. I can’t give that same advice any more. Of course, you must do what honors your own life. But I fought back. There are kids who were going to kill themselves and saw a Champion fighting for them.”
LGBT Teacher Fights Back At Discriminating School District Board, Makes History By Winning A Landmark Case (26 Pics) LGBT Teacher Fights Back At Discriminating School District Board, Makes History By Winning A Landmark Case (26 Pics) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:26 Rating: 5

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