Some Mt. Sterling community members are upset about a decision the Montgomery County public school board made. They say the board unfairly fired a teacher, and they think it’s because he’s gay. Several community members and students associated with the school district have been out protesting in hopes that they can make a difference.
The protesters, not only supporting their beloved arts teacher Mr. Breiner but also giving a voice to gay rights. They say they are afraid Breiner was fired because of his sexual preference. Jessica Dunn, the protest organizer says he was let go soon after he went public about being gay.
“So we just want answers, we want to know why he was let go for real, if this had anything to do with that, is it a coincidence or is it not?”
Over the phone, board member Sharon Smith-Breiner, no relation, confirmed the board did fire Mr. Breiner, but she says she can’t legally talk about personnel matters. She did tell ABC 36 he was not fired because of budget cuts..
The group says it still wants answers. Several of Breiner’s students tell ABC 36 he had a big impact on their lives as chorus teacher at Mcnabb Middle School. Karly Hoskins said she is scared the program will no longer exist without him.
“It helped me a lot through middle school and it helped me through a lot of things that were going on and it made me want to go to school.”
“He’s just a wonderful teacher, he’s always a supporter of the kids and he’s just a great person to be around let alone having them be in the LBGTQ community or out to be someone to trust,” said student Billie Slone.
But Dunn says this isn’t just about saving a good teacher, with it being pride month, she says it’s time to stand up for human rights and bring the community to the 21st century.
“To be told all the time, that being gay is not okay or that something is wrong with you and that the LBGT youth suicide rate being so high, so high, or the issue not being addressed, that’s a big problem.”
Board member Smith-Breiner said she could connect ABC 36 with the superintendent to get the district’s side of the story but neither of them got back to us.
But while on the phone, the board member also told us students shouldn’t be worried about the middle school chorus or theater programs. She says they will go on even though Mr. Breiner will no longer be with the district.