- The Magazine
A Kansas teacher has left his job and is moving out of state after receiving threatening, homophobic letters.
Michael Hill, a visual arts teacher and Kansas native, said that his problems began when he revealed he was gay on National Coming Out Day in October.
Hill told the Topeka Capital-Journal “things got ugly” due to multiple letters that called him derogatory language and threatened him with violence if he did not leave town.
“Homosexuals should not be teaching our kids, in fact I don’t believe they should be teaching our kids at all they are perverts and predators,” one letter, which Hill posted to Facebook, reads. “The religious views of my family do not support this lifestyle…. You should not be allowed to push some gay agenda on our kids.”
The letter added: “You need to be fired and you can take your gay ideas with you. Fags are not welcome in our schools.”
In a second letter, Hill was told: “I know where you live. I know a lot about your schedule. You need to watch your back cause I ain’t alone.”
A third letter said: “Queers will burn and so will you. Don’t think my friends and I ain’t still after you. We don’t want fags in our school.”
The letters were not the only acts of violence. Hill also found a car tire punctured with a screwdriver and “faggot” written on his car. Hill said he could not leave his apartment out of fear and suffered mental stress from the ordeal. When he reported the incidents to law enforcement, they were unable to find the perpetrator.
In mid-January, his school district allowed him to take unpaid medical leave, but after seven weeks, they told him he would either have to resign or come back to class.
“It was very frustrating,” he said, “that my option was to pack up and move.”
Hill now lives in Palm Springs, telling the Courier Journal it’s “a good place for me to be right now.”
Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas said that Hill’s treatment was “absolutely horrifying” and that, even in this day and age, it’s amazing that “professionals in Kansas are still being harassed and threatened, and run out of their jobs and run out of town, because of their sexual orientation.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!