A gay teacher in Missouri has resigned from his position after the school asked him to sign a letter asking him to hide his sexuality.

John Wallis, who taught speech, theatre and world mythology at Neosho Junior High School, announced on Twitter that parents complained that the 22-year-old teacher would teach their child to be gay because Wallis had a Pride flag in his classroom.

Pride Flag Riles Parents

At the beginning of the school year, I had two signs above my whiteboards that read “In This Classroom EVERYONE is Welcome ” and an LGBTQ+ pride flag on my bookshelf,” Wallis said.

I was then instructed to take my flag and signs down. In fact, the use of the pride flag in my classroom was compared to hanging the confederate flag in my classroom.”   

This of course prompted students to ask why, and I answered truthfully while expressing that, if students had a problem with who I was, there were other open classes. This led to three or more calls from parents accusing me of pushing my agenda in the classroom.”

Following complaints from parents, Wallis said he received a letter from Superintendent Jim Cummins where he was told he could not reveal his sexuality to students.

Asked To Hide His Sexuality

The letter stated that  “our classrooms cannot become a personal platform for pushing one’s personal agenda. Your position in the Neosho School District is to teach speech and drama classes. You were hired because we believe you were the best candidate to do such.”

“However, if you are unable to present the curriculum in a manner that keeps your personal agenda on sexuality out of your narrative and the classroom discussions, we will ultimately terminate your employment.”

In his Twitter thread Wallis said that Neosho has no mention of gender identity or sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy. He said that he was asked to sign a letter that he “would not discuss human sexuality or my own personal sexuality in the classroom”. Instead of signing the letter he chose to resign.

“This experience has helped me realize that this is clearly not a place for me,” Wallis said. He pointed to fact that school had no problem when heterosexual teachers displayed photographs with their spouses. 


Wallis only worked at the school for just over a year being hired in August last year and resigning on September 2nd.

According to the former Neosho staff member, he said he would resign on September 30th but the district managed to find a replacement for him quickly.

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