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HIV Positive Teacher Forced To Resign From California School

Matthew Edmondson,  was a beloved middle school science teacher who had worked at The Pegasus  School in Huntington Beach, California for four years before leaving to  teach in Texas, and was asked to return to the school to teach 8th grade  science in the spring of 2007.  Past  administrators and staff at the school were aware that Matthew was gay and  HIV positive and  were all very accommodating and friendly.

But that changed in October 2011, when Matthew’s doctor changed his medication which caused some adverse side effects.  But Matthew kept on teaching never using than his allotted personal time off and  in fact, throughout his tenure from 2002 on, he rarely used personal time off.

Matthew reported the side effects of his new medication to recently appointed Head of School, John Zurn and Joseph Williamson, the middle school director and that was when things changed drastically for Matthew at The Pegasus  School .

According to court documents both Zurn and Williamson waged a discrimination campaign against Matthew  starting in February 2012, including a series of randomly scheduled  meetings under the guise of discussing Matthew’s curriculum plans for  the coming year even though no other Pegasus teachers were asked to do so . It was during these meetings that  Zurn and Williamson harassment grew demanding to know Matthew’s reasons for personal time  off while criticizing his teaching methods for the first time in his  career, despite Matthew’s glowing 9-year teaching evaluations.

At one point Matthew tried to record one of the randomly scheduled  meetings in an effort to document the harassment to which he was  subjected.  Upon  learning of this, Zurn and Williamson demanded that Matthew sign a  Confidential Agreement and Release on March 21 or they would contact the  District Attorney’s office and have him arrested and prosecuted.Under duress, Matthew signed the agreement two days later and left the school

The Pegasus school is now being sued by Matthew for multiple reasons, including workplace discrimination  due to sexual orientation, medical condition and physical disability;  creating and/or knowingly permitting harassment and a hostile work  environment; breach of contract; wrongful termination; and violations of business and professions codes.

Said  Brian Chase, partner at Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys who are Matthews lawyers:  This is a textbook case of workplace discrimination. What’s  tragic is that this is a respected teacher, friend and colleague who  has spent his entire professional career educating children and helping  others.  Simply  put, Matthew was forced out of his job due to egregious verbal abuse,  derogatory comments, insults and threats of criminal prosecution for no  other reasons than his sexual orientation and medical condition.”

I hope that Matthew wins from them every penny  have

But in the meantime, you all know what to do.

The Pegasus School
19692 Lexington Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
714-964-1224

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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