News » Pride

Missouri Teacher Resigns After School Says Remove Pride Flag, Don't Discuss Sexuality

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday September 8, 2021

John M. Wallis
John M. Wallis   (Source:KY3)

A Missouri educator has resigned after school officials requested that he remove a pride flag from his classroom and no longer discuss sexual orientation.

As reported by Springfield News-Leader, ç was barely months into his new job as a speech, theatre and world mythology teacher at Neosho Junior High School when parents started complaining about a pride flag in his classroom.

In a series of tweets over Labor Day weekend, Wallis explained: "At the beginning of the school year, I had two signs above my whiteboards that read 'In this classroom everyone is welcome' and an LGBTQ+ pride flag on my bookshelf," he wrote on Twitter. "This was an attempt to make my classroom more open and welcoming for all of my students and nothing was ever taught about the flag because it stood there as a reflection of my classroom as a safe space for my LGBTQIA+ students."

He continued, "I was then instructed to take my flag and signs down ... In fact, the use of the pride flag in my classroom was compared to hanging the Confederate flag in my classroom."

Parents reportedly alleged that Wallis was "going to teach their child to be gay."

Wallis, a graduate himself of Neosho High School and Webster University in St. Louis, took the flag down and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

When students asked why he removed the flag, he reportedly answered truthfully, prompting more outrage from parents.

"It appears that there is a different set of rules if you are an LGBTQ+ educator," Wallis said on Twitter. "Neosho has no mention of gender identity or sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy, and that is disconcerting enough. Couple that with a policy banning anything that expresses part of me in the classroom, and it makes for a hostile work environment."

Wallis' last day with the district was Thursday, Sept. 2, and reportedly plans to pursue a new career path. Read the full story at the News-Leader.

The bookcase in John M. Wallis's classroom displaying a LGBTQ flag
The bookcase in John M. Wallis's classroom displaying a LGBTQ flag  (Source: KY3)

Parents reportedly alleged that Wallis was "going to teach their child to be gay."

Wallis, a graduate himself of Neosho High School and Webster University in St. Louis, took the flag down and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

When students asked why he removed the flag, he reportedly answered truthfully, prompting more outrage from parents.

"It appears that there is a different set of rules if you are an LGBTQ+ educator," Wallis said on Twitter. "Neosho has no mention of gender identity or sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy, and that is disconcerting enough. Couple that with a policy banning anything that expresses part of me in the classroom, and it makes for a hostile work environment."

Wallis' last day with the district was Thursday, Sept. 2, and reportedly plans to pursue a new career path. Read the full story at the News-Leader.