Courage, Honesty, Strength
PUT SOMEONE under a spotlight. Trouble him, discourage him, disappoint him.
Maybe you’ll find someone to admire. The rest of us can only applaud.
Joseph Acanfora has demonstrated his ability to teach outside the classroom. He has taught the meaning of courage, integrity and persistence.
Consider the obstacles placed in his path.
IN SPRING 1972, Acanfora began student teaching at Park Forest Junior High School. The State College Area School District found out he was a member of Homophiles of. Penn State and removed him from his teaching assignment.
Acanfora could have stolen away into the background, but he wanted to teach. Ha filed a complaint against the school district and the University and won the right in court to finish his teaching assignment.
Acanfora needed a teaching certificate, but the University was not ready to give it to him.
LAST JULY, a board of six University deans met to determine whether his homosexuality affected the requirement. of “good. moral character.”
Acanfora endured questions that managed to be irrelevant and insulting at the same time.
The board deadlocked, but State Secretary of Education John C. Pittenger approved his state certification.
Acanfora was ready to teach. Three weeks after he began teaching earth science in a Maryland junior high school, Acanfora was transferred to an administrative post by a deputy superintendent who claimed Acanfora’s homosexuality was only one of the factors leading to his transfer.
Acanfora could have accepted that administrative job. He wanted to teach.
So he tried again, requesting a preliminary, injunction returning him to the classroom. This has resulted in publicity and the school board lawyers have accused Acanfora of being “militantly activistic” for defending his position.
JOSEPH ACANFORA does not teach in a classroom, but we can learn from his example.