While the U.S. Supreme Court ponders a decision that whether the federal civil rights law guarantees LGBT teachers nationwide protection from workplace discrimination, Denison Professor of Educational Studies Karen Graves puts things in perspective during an interview with Education Week magazine.

Graves comments:

“Throughout much of the 20th century, LGBTQ teachers in most places across the country would have been fired if they were found out.

In Florida, the state legislature established an investigation committee that tried, from 1957 to 1965, to weed out gay and lesbian teachers and professors from public schools and universities. Nearly 200 educators lost their jobs, said Graves, who wrote about the investigation in the book And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida’s Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers.

Sometimes, investigators from the committee pulled teachers directly out of the classroom and interrogated them, Graves said. The state teachers’ union supported the investigations, which it considered a way to safeguard the profession.

For gay teachers in the 1950s and 1960s, there was no recourse. No one as a group would stand up and protect them.”

January 29, 2020