Monday, December 23, 2013

from Bill Diss: Fired from Benson High School in Portland

Dear Friends for Life and Purity,

I think many of you have heard that the school board, in a very strange manner, voted to dismiss me on December 16, 2013.  A bit of a strange Christmas present.  Life Legal Defense Fund will be assisting me along with the law firm of McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP.  I do appreciate the prayers of everyone.  Please pray for my family and pray for those persecuting me.

It is my opinion that many administrators at Portland Public Schools will do everything to keep Planned Parenthood on the campuses.  I do not think that the district cares how much money they have to spend to keep Planned Parenthood and the philosophy of Planned Parenthood at the campuses of the district.

One of the board members, Bobbie Regan sits on the advisory board of the “mercy killing” organization Compassion & Choices of Oregon along with former Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette CEO David Greenberg.  I would imagine others support other anti-life activities in the area.

The following was released by Life Legal Defense Fund on December 17, 2013:

Portland Public Schools Terminate Employment of Pro-Life Teacher

Posted on December 17, 2013 by
Portland, Oregon: On Monday, December 16, 2013 the school board for the Portland Public School District voted to terminate the teaching contract of Bill Diss, a teacher who has been an outspoken opponent of Planned Parenthood. Mr. Diss experienced censure in his teaching career beginning in 2007 when he publicly opposed the building of a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in downtown Portland. The current action follows Mr. Diss’ opposition to being forced to facilitate presenters from the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), a program administered by Planned Parenthood, coming into his tutorial session to recruit students.

“Bill Diss is a well qualified teacher with a track record of success,” states Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. “As the circumstances surrounding this termination demonstrate, Mr. Diss has done nothing that would merit being fired from his job. LLDF will pursue every possible avenue in defending Mr. Diss’ rights in this matter, and hopes to see his rights ultimately protected despite PPS’ actions.”

Background: Bill Diss has taught Technology, Math, Computers and Electronics at Benson High School since 2002. He has also taught several classes at the community college level. He is highly regarded in his abilities and his success both by students themselves, by their parents, and fellow teachers. Mr. Diss is the only teacher in the state of Oregon who has been certified as qualified to teach college level computer science to high school students for dual credit. His initiative and hard work have attracted outside grants to Benson opening up even greater opportunities for Benson students. For the first five years at Benson High, Mr. Diss was rated as proficient or better, with numerous positive compliments in his reviews. Mr. Diss’ methodology and teaching style has remained substantially the same in all his years of teaching.

The positive reviews took a dramatic change for the worse, however, when Mr. Diss began to speak out in opposition to the building of a new Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Portland. Mr. Diss was involved in opposition activities on his own time, and did not bring his political or religious convictions into his instruction in the classroom. Nonetheless, he began to experience complaints about his political activities from school administrators, and his teaching came under sudden, rigorous scrutiny. Complaints, negative evaluations, letters of reprimand and formal meetings became a regular part of Mr. Diss’ life at school for as long as he engaged in outspoken, public opposition to Planned Parenthood.

Shortly after the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, presenters with the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) came to Mr. Diss’ tutorial classes to give a presentation recruiting students for the TOP program. When presenters entered the tutorial, Mr. Diss, consistent with District policy, asked for identification. He was handed a card that identified the presenters as employees of Planned Parenthood. This knowledge surprised Mr. Diss, and caused him serious emotional distress due to his well-known personal religious convictions and his years of work to oppose that organization. He expressed his dilemma to Benson Principal, Carol Campbell at the time and asked to be excused from being present for the presentation due to his religious convictions. His request was denied. He was told that he would be required to be present for the TOP presentation. Through the remainder of the school year during which he taught, Mr. Diss continued to have to deal with Planned Parenthood staff as they administered the TOP program.

Simultaneous to his request not to be involved with TOP, Mr. Diss’ teaching came under renewed censorial review. Mr. Diss accepted the input from school administration, but the year proved to be extremely stressful, including numerous classroom observations and meetings with school administration. On March 19, 2013 school administrators summarily demanded that Mr. Diss leave the school premises and not return—placing him on paid administrative leave. Mr. Diss was told to leave the school and was escorted off the premises by a police officer. This unnecessary show of force is symbolic of the animus faced by Mr. Diss throughout the year.

Again Thank you and God Bless You,
Bill Diss

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CCHD Names to Remember: Where are the Catholic Values?

Day labor site feels lack of support
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Men at day labor center try to stay warm while waiting for work.

Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Men at day labor center try to stay warm while waiting for work.
Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

Organizers of a Portland center for day laborers say support from city officials has waned. That is complicating a capital campaign meant to fund a permanent building on the site.

The center, on city-owned land amid industry at Northeast Martin Luther King and Everett, is run by Voz Workers' Rights Education Project. In part with funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Voz gives workers a dry and central place to wait for employers to find them. The center also prevents wage fraud and other shady deals, which were par for the course when laborers stood on various corners around the city.

When the site opened, the city offered a five-year lease. After that agreement expired in March, the Portland Development Commission offered only a month-by-month arrangement and said Voz could be asked to leave with six months notice. Leaders of Voz say the precarious standing has made it difficult to secure funders for a plan to construct better buildings.

Romeo Sosa, executive director of Voz, says he has asked PDC to list the property in the name of Voz so that funders will have confidence. He does not want to buy the land or have it donated — just listed with the Voz name. (VOCAL: It is very bold of Mr. Sosa)

"We want a permanent building," says Sosa, comparing the shed-like enterprise to larger and sturdier centers in Seattle, Los Angeles and Baltimore. More professional offices would not only be more humane for workers, but would attract more employers, he explains.

The Seattle day labor center received $2 million in public funding and includes rooms for English and computer classes, a waiting area and a kitchen. Baltimore's center is housed on a donated mansion. 

"Voz has done a lot of good work down there," says Valerie Chapman, pastoral administrator of St. Francis Parish, where Voz has offices.  "The place provides dignity for workers. They don't get caught out in the rain."

Chapman recalls that the initiative was favored by business owners and residents of the neighborhood, who saw it as a way to prevent various corners from springing up as crowded day labor sites.

"Month-to-month makes it really complicated for planning," says Chapman, who has also worked with the city on St. Francis Dining Hall, which provides free meals to people in need. "Funders need to know they will be around."

Chapman says PDC is giving a mixed message: send potential funders to us for assurance, but also, we can have you leave the site with only six months notice.
Portland gave $200,000 to Voz to start the center and has given $25,000 annually since, charging only $1 per year in rent.  (WHY do they need Catholic money?)

"We have made it abundantly clear that our support is in place," says Shawn Uhlman, PDC spokesman. Uhlman says the commission has no intention of asking Voz to leave the property. Patrick Quinton, PDC’s executive director, has invited Voz to send potential donors to him to be reassured. Uhlman says PDC will do what it can to help if Voz wants to purchase the property, but does not simply sign over city-owned parcels.

The 2013 market value of the land tops $360,000 — well out of the reach of Voz. The value has tripled since 2000 as industry has picked up in inner Northeast. Selling the parcel could mean a boost to the PDC, which is trying to reduce its land holdings.

The original agreement between the city and Voz said the non-profit would work toward building a more permanent center on city site or elsewhere.

The center was created with backing of former Mayor Tom Potter. The office of current Mayor Charlie Hales had not offered comment as of press time.

"Support is not as strong as it used to be," Sosa concludes. "We feel the city sees it as us against them instead of us together. They say they support us, but we don't feel that." Sosa says if the center closes, day laborers will head back to the corners. (VOCAL: There is no movement forward for this organization.  It is a political movement and for Catholics, which all of the players say they are, disregards the Mind and Heart of Christ with pro-Abortion and pro-homosexual factors involved in VOZ)