On November 14, Portland Public Schools joined with Planned Parenthood in an attempt to end the teaching career of Bill Diss, a highly qualified and dedicated teacher who blocked the access of Planned Parenthood employees to his class. Now, research by the watchdog group STOPP.org finds that some of those responsible for determining the fate of Diss have direct ties to pro-abortion politics.
In an e-mail to Common Sense, Rita Diller, national director for STOPP.org, says she uncovered multiple links between Portland school officials and pro-abortion politicians, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood.
Diller wrote in her Wednesday STOPP Report, “We found multiple connections that go a long way in explaining why the nation’s largest abortion chain wields so much power in Portland schools that it could actually precipitate the dismissal and a ‘perp walk’ by a teacher who exercised his First Amendment rights in speaking out about Planned Parenthood.”
There is no history of Diss being disruptive or confrontational to school administration, and no reason has ever been given why Portland schools chose to have him escorted off the premises by police last March. One possibility is that Principal Carol Campbell and Diss were at loggerheads for years over Diss’ anti-Planned Parenthood stance and that this was her chance to humiliate him.
Campbell was on a first name basis with the Planned Parenthood employees that she authorized to take control of Diss’ class, knowing full well his religious objections to the abortion group. She chose not to advise Diss in advance that Planned Parenthood would make a presentation to his math class and refused to excuse Diss on religious freedom grounds when he discovered the real identities for himself.
Prior to 2007, when Diss began fighting Planned Parenthood, his teacher appraisals were exemplary, yet he was placed on administrative leave from Portland Public Schools in March when the school claimed “unprofessional, intimidating and/or harassing behavior.”
Curiously, the school echoes language from the complaint from Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, the same group that Diss asked to leave his class: “Carol … Diss was overheard ‘telling students in the hallway that PPCW was going to talk to them about abortion and students were intimidated to the point that none of them signed up for the class.’”
No evidence has been made public that any students complained.
School administration links do not stop with Campbell. These are just two of the other relationships from Diller’s e-mail, and in the group’s Wednesday STOPP Report from November 20:
[Portland school] board member Pam Knowles is an attorney in the firm that sued the American Coalition of Life Activists, Dr. Monica Miller, and others—challenging the defendants’ First Amendment rights—on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Oregon abortionists. Knowles was the mentor of the lead lawyer for Planned Parenthood in the case.
Board director Bobbie Regan sits on the advisory board of the pro-euthanasia organization Compassion & Choices of Oregon, along with former Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette CEO David Greenberg.Compassion’s website says, “We complement the implementation of The Oregon Death with Dignity Act by ensuring qualified Oregonians with safe and responsible access to use the Act.” Notice the bizarre logic, similar to that used by pro-abortion activists: “safe and responsible access” to suicide?
Regan, along with two former board members, Martin Gonzalez and Trudy Sargent, were listed among supporters by “Mary Nolan for City Council.” Nolan cofounded Oregon NARAL. Regan joined PP Action Fund in endorsing Suzanne Bonamici for Congress. Bonamici is a supporter of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon. Regan also served as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Ed Markey, who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood PAC with a 100% favorable record.
Regan has been just as involved and at a higher level in pro-abortion politics as Diss has been in opposition. People are free to choose their politics, but Diller’s research raises questions about the mindset of school administration.
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Rights advocates like Alveda King (a niece of Martin Luther King), Judie Brown of American Life League (STOPP is an ALL project), and Life Legal Defense Fund have rallied to Diss’s defense, along with an attorney from the Portland Teacher Association.
Brendan O’Morchoe, national director of field operations for Students for Life of America, described the scene at the November 14 pre-termination hearing: “Last night, pro-life advocates showed up en masse at a pre-termination hearing. … They filled the room and assembled by the dozens outside to pray and witness with signs reading ‘Civil Rights for Bill Diss.’ The hearing — which was supposed to be public at Bill Diss’ request — was held in the smallest room possible, which had a posted capacity of 92 but only 50 people were allowed inside at one time.”
Where these days is Carol Campbell, the principal who orchestrated the confrontation pitting Portland schools against teachers’ First Amendment rights? She has been promoted to principal at Portland’s Grant High School.
A final decision has yet to be announced on Diss’ termination, and it remains to be seen just how badly the cards may be stacked against him.
LifeNews Note: Paul Rondeau is the executive director of American Life League. This article originally appeared in Rondeau’s pro-family column Common Sense at the Washington Times and is reprinted with permission.