Coach Says He Was Fired For Being Gay | NBC Southern California

Coach Says He Was Fired For Being Gay

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    A high school water polo coach in Covina says he was fired for being gay. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011)

    Former Charter Oak High School water polo coach Mitch Stein recalled the day he was told by the school principal that his services would no longer be needed.

    "'I want you to know we are firing you and it's not because you are gay,'" said Stein, recounting what he was told. "I asked her, 'Why am I being fired?' and she said, 'You are an at-will employee. We could fire you at any time for any reason.'"

    Stein thinks he knows what happened. He got in trouble after a parent sent the district Facebook pictures of him posing with drag queens, he said.

    "There is a picture of me with drag queens that he was offended by," says Stein. "He said they were offensive and I said 'if I were a straight male in that picture with cheerleaders would I have been fired?'"

    Officials from the Charter Oak School District, which serves Covina, Glendora and San Dimas, said  they can't say much about Stein's dismissal because it is a personnel matter.

    "Is there any chance he could be re-instated? Not that I know off," said Superintendent Mike Hendricks. "We have no intention at this time of doing that."

    Julian Marquez Delgado is on the Charter Oak water polo team. He wishes the school district would reconsider.

    "He was a good coach," said Delgado.

    Parents have mixed views.

    "If the school district didn't fire him, I would have pulled my child out of water polo," said parent Jenny Osterkamp.

    "He was fired for being gay," says Tara Turner, another parent. "I am gay. I think it is (wrong)."

    Stein plans to file a lawsuit, unless he gets his job back.

    "I want to go back to coaching. I want the school board to just let me coach. I don't need an apology," he said.

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