Pro-life teacher says he was fired for his beliefs


by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 8:31 PM

PORTLAND -- A Portland high school teacher, Bill Diss, claims he was fired Monday night because of his stance against abortion.

The Portland Public School District said Diss was terminated because of his conduct in the classroom.

Diss is a computer and electronics teacher as well as a Catholic with strong beliefs. He said his troubles began back in 2007 when he publicly protested against a new Planned Parenthood building in Northeast Portland.

“I think what got me in trouble was they just really didn’t like me doing the stuff even on the outside,” Diss said.

He said he is experiencing a conspiracy of retribution for his stance against abortion.

“Abortion and purity. I think, well, Planned Parenthood is certainly behind it and I think a lot of people -- administrators -- who work for the school district and members of the board are really, favor Planned Parenthood's policies,” he said.

Stacy James, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, Columbia Willamette said, “Planned Parenthood is not involved in school district human resources and disciplinary issues.”

The school district denied the firing had anything to do with religious beliefs or freedom of speech.

A statement released Monday read, in part: ”The school district takes discipline of all employees seriously. Mr. Diss’s conduct and performance led to his removal from the classroom and termination.”

At Benson High, Diss got mixed reviews from students. Many students knew of his religious beliefs.

“I heard about it but he never really spoke on it. He was just more of an in-the-moment awkward guy,” said Blake Howell, a junior at Benson.

Sophomore Valerie Patton said Diss was her tutorial teacher.

“He was very vocal about his beliefs, he always was. But other than that he was a really good person I think,” Patton said.

Now, Diss is vowing to fight his termination. He can’t stand the thought of not teaching.

“I just love those kids. I felt they’ve taken my kids away from me,” Diss said.