Acanfora waits before filing suit


Joe Acanfora was advised by his lawyers yesterday to wait before taking legal action against the Montgomery. County School Board.

The University graduate said it would “look bad” in court if he filed a suit at this time. He said legal action probably will not be taken now until after election day.

Acanfora had decided to talk to his lawyers about legal action when school board members fai1ed to return him to his teaching position in a board meeting Tuesday.

Acanfora, an acknowledged homosexual, was transferred from a job teaching earth science at Partham[sic] Junior High School, Montgomery County, MD, when he informed school officials of the controversy facing his teacher certification in Pennsylvania.

He was transferred, without loss, of pay, to a position in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the school district.

After Acanfora’s Sept. 26 transfer, National Education Association and Montgomery County Education Association lawyers sent letters to the school board protesting the transfer. The possibility of legal action if the letters were not answered was mentioned. Acanfora waited a standard five-day grievance period then continued the period until after a school board meeting Tuesday. Describing his position as “less and less promising every day,” he contacted his lawyers yesterday.

He said his lawyers told him that they received a letter from the school board, yesterday. The letter said an investigation was being conducted, but no date was given as to when a decision would be reached.

Acanfora said the school board had written to University President John W. Oswald, asking for information on Acanfora’s background. He said as far as he knew the board had received no response.

Oswald was not available for comment on the letter.

Acanfora said the lawyers had suggested he wait a “reasonable time” before taking legal action.

He said he had no idea what constituted a reasonable time.

One of Acanfora’s lawyers said earlier that several board members were up for re-election and that they may not wish to make a decision until after election day.  Acanfora said yesterday the wait probably would be at least until then.

When asked his opinion, of the decision to delay legal action, Acanfora said, “I would rather proceed immediate1y so I can get back (to the teaching job).”

He said petitions were being circulated in the school to get him returned to his teaching position. He said 40 out of 70 faculty members had signed a petition and that it is expected that at least 60 sign.

He said students also were circu1ating a petition asking that he be returned. He said both petitions would be presented to the school board Monday.

He said the Gay Activists Alliance also is taking an interest in his case, but would not say in what way. -- RN