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Neosho teacher resigns after complaints about gay pride flag

Neosho teacher resigns after complaints about gay pride flag

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Rainbow flag in the wind

Roland Magnusson ©123RF.COM

NEOSHO, Mo. — A southwest Missouri teacher said he resigned from Neosho Junior High School after he was told to remove a gay pride flag from his classroom and to sign a letter saying he would not discuss human sexuality or gender with his students.

John Wallis, 22, said he hung the flag and a sign that said “everyone is welcome” in his classroom so his students would know they could come to him for help, The Kansas City Star reported.

Superintendent Jim Cummins said in a statement that he could not discuss personnel matters. He said Wallis, a theater, world mythology and speech and debate teacher, was hired Aug. 13 and resigned Sept. 1.

Wallis said he took down the flag and sign after being told a parent complained.

He said he was told more parents complained after told students they should consider finding another classroom if they were uncomfortable with him or LGBTQ students.

He said he was then asked to sign a letter saying he would be fired if he could not teach his curriculum without keeping his “personal agenda on sexuality” out of the classroom.

Wallis said he’s filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

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