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Gay Coach Fired over Two Goofy Photos

Gay Coach Fired over Two Goofy Photos
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When Mitch Stein posted a couple of goofy photographs to his Facebook page, he never dreamed that years later they would lead to his being kicked out of coaching.

Last August the principal of Charter Oak High School in Covina, California, called Stein into this office and fired him. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports the trouble started when three members of the water polo team showed up without proof of their required physical examinations. Stein set them to washing cars instead of practicing. One of the parents retaliated by printing two photographs off the gay coach’s Facebook site and sending them anonymously to the school.

According to Outsports, one of the photographs was at least a decade old. In one shot he was surrounded by drag queens. In the other he was about to stuff his face with a corn dog. They were hijinks shots of a slice of gay culture, nothing more. (They can no longer be seen online.)

Stein was stunned by what the firing implied. He is a loving father to two daughters, a 15-year-old and a newly adopted baby. He was assistant coach for the school’s winning water polo team. Even though he’s been fired, he is still out there raising funds for the school. Nothing in his behavior with students nor in his coaching has been called into question. His only “crime” is two photos posted years ago.

In an interview with Kergan Edwards-Stout in The Bilerico Project, Stein said none of the people involved in the firing had ever met him — not the parent who sent in the photos, not the principal or the assistant superintendent, not the school athletic director.

At first Stein’s fiance, Hugo, just wanted to move on and focus on their family, but Stein decided he had to fight the dismissal. He felt he owed it to Devynn, his teenaged daughter. She is a student at Charter Oaks and is on the water polo team. When he suggested she might want to change schools, she told him, “Dad, I don’t want to change schools. And besides, if we change schools, they win.”

Parents rallied around the coach. Even after he was fired, they voted him, unanimously, to the post of president of the aquatics booster board.

In her coverage of the controversy for the Los Angeles Times, Corina Knoll quoted one parent with two sons on the water polo team. Raymond Adams said:

I don’t agree with homosexuality, but at the same time we shouldn’t be judging anybody. His private life has nothing to do with coaching the water polo team. I believe the school made a huge mistake, and they should just come forward and admit it and stop wasting the school district’s money. I see Mr. Stein as a servant to the community and the kids more than people that I go to church with, including myself.

 

Next page: Stein Fights the Dismissal

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Photo credits: Thinkstock

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345 comments

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8:49AM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

Of course they won't comment because they are by now aware that they did something wrong. BTW, being a parent means that you got to raise your kids properly. If they don't behave as expected, don't blame the teacher. And don't retaliate by sending anonymous pictures either! That is so childish and just proves your child weren't brought up the right way. When Mr. Stein wins his case, you'll be the one standing there with your pants down and will have to try and explain to your family how your actions led to a great monetary loss for the school and a stamp of shame on them aswell.

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Totally ridiculous. Old Facebook photos are certainly not something to make employment judgements upon. And Sharon R. as far as highly sexually oriented content goes, just listen in on the conversations of many infantry soldiers, football players, macho men and you will find that their sexual talk is just as highly sexually orientated in the words and demeanour taking place, not to mention adolescents.

7:00AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

that is so messed up;if that was me i would be suing those people!

10:57AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

yet another reason not to use facebook

10:57AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

yet another reason not to use facebook

3:36PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Maybe the coach just plain got fired for "Being Goofy"!

7:23PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Callie, great post with the URL. I had a good laugh too at at the ignorant one it was aimed at. :)

4:30PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Interesting.

12:44PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED I AM NOT TOO HAPPY WITH FACEBOOK....I SEE SOME PHOTOS I WOULD NEVER PUT ONLINE.....PEOPLE DONT NEED TO PUT THEIR PARTYING ONLINE FIRST OF ALL BE MODERATE AND RESPECT YOURSELF...AS FAR AS STUFFING YOUR MOUTH WE ALL DO THAT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER...HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FIRED..IF THE KIDS DID NOT COME WITH THEIR REQUIRED PAPERWORK..THEY SHOULD HAVE WASHED CARS..I AM TIRED OF IRRESPONSIBLE KIDS TODAY.

7:11PM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

@Dave W., since you're interested in hummingbirds, you might be interested in this article which discusses homosexual behavior in birds - including two different kinds of hummingbirds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_displaying_homosexual_behavior

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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