SENECA, Kan. — A Kansas teacher said he abandoned his job and home state following months of harassment for being gay.
Former Nemaha Valley High School teacher Michael Hill was the target of cyberbullying and received threats by mail after revealing his sexual orientation in October, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
In the letters, Hill was told that his lifestyle wouldn’t be tolerated by the Seneca community with one anonymous author promising to “take matters into my own hands.” His car was also vandalized.
“Things got ugly and I started to fear for my own well-being,” Hill said.
Hill said he reported the incidents but no arrests were made. He said the incidents made him too afraid to leave his apartment and caused severe mental stress.
According to Hill, the school district allowed him to take a leave of absence, but after seven weeks asked him to return to class or resign.
“It was very frustrating that my option was to pack up and move,” Hill said.
Hill announced his resignation in a Facebook post with images of the letters he received, saying “people need to know this kind of ugly hatred still exists in the world.”
The post received more than a thousand reactions from people with some offering love and well wishes.
Nemaha Central Unified School District 115 Superintendent Darrel Kohlman declined to comment to the newspaper on personnel matters, but noted the incidents targeting Hill were done away from the school. He said the district doesn’t tolerate harassment, discrimination or bullying.
“We feel like we’re trying to do our part,” Kohlman said. “It’s unfortunate that society has not followed suit.”