Josh Hamilton, a 32-year-old teacher in his third year at Grapevine High School in Texas, says he was put on administrative leave immediately after coming out to a group of students as gay. The school board this week moved to proceed with firing him.
Hamilton believes his coming out is the reason for his firing. Hamilton talked about being gay to seven students in order to offer them motivation to focus on an upcoming speech tournament.
Said Hamilton to the students: “I was like heck, you guys watched me struggle for years through my own mental health battles, because that what it was, and come out on the other side of that has a happy functioning gay man.”
The Star-Telegram reports: “Hamilton reminded the students that they had seen him move beyond mental health struggles and emerge happily as a gay man. The next day, district human resources employees questioned him on what elements of his personal life he had shared with students, he said. Hamilton’s supervisor asked to review his cellphone and, believing he had “nothing to hide,” he allowed it. The district placed Hamilton on paid administrative leave and later told him that it planned to fire him. School officials said many of Hamilton’s claims are incorrect and they plan to address them at his termination hearing.”
NBCDFW reports: “Hamilton admits he’s texted a student who’s babysat his son in the past but insists the messages have never been inappropriate. He believes parents caught wind of what he said and complained.”
Said Kristin Snively, a school spokesperson: “To be clear, Mr. Hamilton’s sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with the reason Mr. Hamilton has been proposed for termination. Mr. Hamilton has been proposed for termination for good cause due to violations of the District’s electronic communications policy, violations of student privacy, failure to follow written directives, and violations of the Texas Educator’s Code of Ethics.”