Teacher says he was fired for 'pro-life' beliefs

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- A former Portland high school teacher says he was fired this week because of his personal stance against abortion.

Bill Diss got the word Monday night at a Portland Public School Board hearing that he can no longer teach within the district.

He claims the decision was based on his religious beliefs and not on his ability as a teacher.

Diss has taught computer and electronics at Benson High for 11 years, but says he's been teaching his whole life.

He believes his problems began back in 2007 when he publicly protested against a new Planned Parenthood building in northeast Portland, and the school found out.

He claims he doesn't teach his beliefs in the classroom, but admits kids are aware of his stance on abortion, and that he will talk to them about it if they ask.

Diss believes the school was uncomfortable with that and fired him because of it.

"After they found out about my beliefs, they just kept trying to make my job tougher and tougher, and I kept doing what they wanted, but then they would say it wasn't enough," said Diss. "I was with those kids for 11 years, and I just really felt like they took those kids away from me and last night was really hard, I did not sleep well last night."

The school district released this statement to FOX 12 about its decision to fire Diss, saying "Mr. Diss has said his termination was based on his religious beliefs and his right to free speech. That is not the case. The school district takes discipline of all employees seriously. Mr. Diss's conduct and performance led to his removal from the classroom and termination."

Diss says he's going to continue to tutor students outside of the classroom for the time being. He hopes the district will one day change its mind, but if not, he may consider legal action.