THE WASHINGTON POST

8-16-73

 

Homosexual Loses Job As Teacher

 

By Adam Shaw

Washington Post Staff Writer

 

The Montgomery County board of education voted unanimously yesterday not to renew the contract of a 22-year-old avowed homosexual teacher on the grounds that his job was “no longer existant.”

Joseph Acanfora entered the school system as an eight-grade science teacher at Parkland Junior High School in Rockville on Sept. 18, 1972 only to be removed from a classroom teaching position eight days later when school officials discovered he had received national publicity in connection with homosexual organizations at Pennsylvania State University.

Acanfora was transferred to an $8000-a-year nonteaching position in the county school system’s department of curricu1um and instruction, which he held until the end of the l972-73 school year. This was the job that the board yesterday called “no-longer existant.”

Last April, Acanfora sued the school board in an unsuccessful effort to be reinstated as a classroom teacher.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Young ruled in a 30-page opinion that the “danger” of Acanfora influencing his adolescent students toward homosexuality, although not seeming “as great or as likely, as the school board assumed, is not illusory.”

Edward Andrews, associate school superintendent for Personnel, said yesterday that Acanfora was only one of about 20 nontenured teachers whose contracts were not renewed, but the only one whose job was not renewed be cause his job no longer existed.

James H. Daugherty was the only board member to defend the science teacher, saying that he understood that “when a position is eliminated and the person has performed well in that position we usually make extreme efforts to find other jobs” for him.

Daugherty said he had problems with the fact that the board was unable to find another job for Acanfora.

At no time during a brief morning discussion of the matter did board members discuss the teacher’s homosexuality. In the afternoon, the board voted 4 to 0, to approve Supt. Homer O. Elseroad’s personnel actions, which included the Acanfora action.

Daugherty was not- present for the vote.

A nontenured probationary teacher, whose contract was renewable on a year-to-year basis, Acanfora under the public school laws of Maryland, was not entitled to a hearing before the board of education, but the board could decide to grant him one.

The board discussed a proposal by Elseroad supporting the existing policy of not granting nontenured teachers hearings on an automatic basis, but did not vote on it.

According to associate personnel superintendent Andrews, Acanfora could now go to the state board of education and appeal the county board’s decision not to renew his contract or could take it to the courts.

Neither Acanfora or his attorneys could be reached yesterday.