07/10/2014 06:29 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Teacher Fired For Being Gay To Receive Apology 42 Years Later

A teacher who was fired for being gay is receiving an apology from his former school district -- 42 years after the fact.

Former social studies teacher James Gaylord was fired from his post at Tacoma School District in Washington in 1972 after a school assistant principal confronted him about his sexual orientation. After Gaylord answered truthfully, he was fired on the spot, according to the Seattle-Post Intelligencer.

"In retrospect, I guess I could have denied it, or refused to answer," Gaylord told the publication in 2004. "But I figured that if it had gotten to the point where the assistant principal was visiting me at home, there wasn't much possibility a denial would accomplish anything."

On Wednesday, however, the school board announced that it would issue a public apology to Gaylord at a local LGBTQ organization’s fundraiser on Sunday.

I felt that Mr. Gaylord deserved an apology,” Tacoma School Board President Kurt Miller told The News Tribune.

Following his termination, Gaylord sued the district, and the case made its way to the state Supreme Court, which sided with the district's decision. The U.S. Supreme Court would not hear his appeal, the outlet reports.

If Gaylord had not been discharged after he became known as a homosexual, the result would be fear, confusion, suspicion, parental concern, and pressure on the administration by students, parents, and other teachers,” the state Supreme Court majority opinion read.

Gaylord, who ended up working as a librarian, told The News Tribune he had no regrets.

“I would do it all over again,” he said. “There were a lot of people who thought it was a losing battle. But it still advanced the cause for equal rights.”



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