Water Polo Coach Insists He Was Fired For Being Gay

COVINA (CBS) — Mitch Stein is the water polo coach for Charter Oak High School in Covina.

Make that was the coach.

Stein insists he was fired from the job he loves… for being gay.

Stein was told, “[The principal] said we are firing you…but it’s not because you’re gay.” He was told that as an at-will employee, the school had the right to fire him at any time, for any reason.

But Stein insists his termination was personal. He told KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez, “I’m bewildered things like this still happen in this day and age.”

It’s the age of the Internet and social media that was Stein’s undoing. Stein told Fernandez he was fired for posting what the one parent called “offensive pictures.”

A picture of Stein, with some drag queens, appeared on his facebook page. Another pic showed him holding a corn dog. One parent apparently complained.

According the Stein, the parent wrote a letter to the school’s principal saying he was unfit to coach because of the drag queen photos. He removed them right away. And so was he. Many of the school’s parents, kids and the water polo team have come to his defense.

Devynn Stein, the coach’s daughter, is also squarely in his corner. “I was raised knowing my dad was gay.”

Parent Tara Turner told Fernandez, that “The kids really miss him. We hope he comes back to coach again.”

Stein, who has been coaching on and off since 1995, is planning a lawsuit. And he just wants his job back. “I don’t even need an apology,” he says.

The Charter Oaks School District denies any discrimination has occurred. But they also told Fernandez the firing is a “done deal and there’s nothing left to discuss.”

Stein says he came back to coaching to assist his daughter. And he tells Fernandez, he never thought he would be fighting for his job.

More from Juan Fernandez
  • john

    wow, first the race card, now the gay card. seriously..

  • Jessenia Martinez

    “Fox Mulder” and “Me” are idiots.

    • Chester

      I agree.

  • Sara Marie

    It is ILLEGAL to fire someone because of their sexual orientation! If anyone is happy that a good coach, an innocent man, and an excellent human being got fired because he happens to have a personal life that is different that their own, they can take their bigotry and get out of my town! I won’t stand for this kind of discrimination where I live. We’re better than that in Covina, don’t let this one school district fool you!

    • Sara Marie

      than that of their own**

    • Duh!

      BUT, the principal flat out said, “We are not firing you because you are gay.” So it is not illegal.

      Stein says that he is an “at-will employee” which means he can quit whenever he wants for whatever reason and his employer can let him go whenever they want for whatever reason. He signed an agreement letting him know he was an at will employee when he took the job. If he did not, then he has grounds to sue. But if he did sign the agreement, then he can sue all he wants and he will still lose.

    • uhoh

      Your town? So, you own the whole town. Lame.

      • Sara Marie

        I live here, so it is my town, as much as it is anyone else who lives here. But I don’t want to be lumped into the category of “Covina Bigot”. Thanks for trolling by “uhoh”!

  • Don't ask, don't tell!

    Should have followed the old military way Mitchy!

    Don;t ask, don’t tell!!

    Gay is a sexual preferance, not a color or race.

    Move on mitchy, there hiring at Disney Land!

    • Sara Marie

      Whoa, buddy, I didn’t say I hate anyone, not even you. Hate is a strong word. So keep your assumptions to yourself.

      Thanks for calling me gay when you don’t even know me. Or really, making a not-so witty pun out of it. You’re quite the adult.

      And yes, people are born gay. All the people I know wished they weren’t gay before they came out. They couldn’t pray away the gay, or ignore it, or push it aside. They just are gay and always have been.

      Oh, and I’m not a dummy. I have an education, obviously, your grammatical errors indicate that you don’t.

    • Sara Marie

      Don’t you mean they’re* as in they + are? And preference*. Nobody asks to be gay, or wakes up and one day and says that it sounds like a good idea. People are born that way, if you don’t think so, you’ve obviously never faced discrimination because you’re gay, nobody would choose that.

      Also, DADT was repealed. Read the news sometime.

      • Don't ask don't tell anyone!

        Hey Gayra,

        I said the old military way dummy!

        As I said dummy, being gay is a sexual preferance. No one is born gay, just like no one is born to hate. So, keep your hate to yourself dummy!

  • DH

    Just be careful of what you put on Facebook. Prospective employers also check Facebook. If they saw a picture of you with drag queens do you think they would hire you?

  • Chris

    What a bunch of idiots most of you are. Implying that because the principal said he didn’t fire him because he was gay makes it the truth? And you morons that think gay is a choice–you feel that way so you can condemn gay people. So you woke up one morning and decided to be straight? It’s the 21st century all you Pat Robertson followers. SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!

    • You are a closet case!

      Your gay!
      Welcome to the 21st century idiot!

    • Duh!

      Chris, he wasn’t “implying” that the principal said that he was not firing him because he was gay. Stein said that the principal said they were not firing him because he was gay.

      In the words of Inigo Montoya (and I am paraphrasing here), “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” (in regards to the word implying)

  • rich

    anyone with a brain knows you set your facebook so ONLY your friends can see your posts and photos this man may be a good coach but he is not a SMART ONE i am as straight as it gets and i am smart enough not to put sexual photos of my self or my girl friend on my facebook and YES A PHOTO OF YOUR SELF WITH A DRAG QUEEN IS A SEXUAL PHOTO. if ANY of his students are his friends on his face book then it is very simple he could be fired for SEXUAL MISCONDUCT because as far as im concerned weather your gay or straight i dont want my underage kids seeing their coach in a sexual photo so at the VERY LEAST this man was not very bright to post that photo

    • Sara Marie

      Drag queens are NOT about sex. They dress up as women because they feel comfortable and empowered doing so. And they only dress up for drag shows, not to walk to the grocery store. So, no, drag queens are not sexually suggestive. But you know what is? Professional cheerleaders. And if Stein had been taking pictures with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in little to no clothes, there wouldn’t have been an issue. The board said, “No, that wouldn’t have been an issue because that is their uniform.” Drag queens have a uniform too, it’s called dressing up in women’s clothing or they can’t be considered drag.

  • knights68

    welcome to the wonderful world of GOVERNMENT EDUCATION! A teacher recently was fired for posting pics on FB of a picture of her vacation… and all she was doing in the pic was holding a drink. Now (possibly) a coach is fired not for being gay, but for pictures he posted online too. Unfortunately, these are not isolated instances nor will they be the last.

    • rich

      knight i dont think the problem is that the one teacher drank or that this coach is gay. i think the issue for the parents anyhow is that the two teachers exposed their kids to their lifestyles. i personally dont drink nor am i gay to me both lifestyles are not acceptable so i teach my children not to take part in either as is my right. if they then see a teachers FACEBOOK where the teacher FLAUNTS that they are involved in one or both lifestyles i’m likely to object because kids often put lots of stock in what their teachers do or say especially if that teacher is well liked. i do not want my child confused at school by such things i send my kids to school to learn math and reading and history and such not to learn how to drink or about a coachs cross dressing proclivities. then there is this, i do not think it is right that the students can access the teachers facebook or if the teacher can access the students. a teacher is not a students friend and a student is not a teachers friend they SHOULD NOT be on each others facebooks

    • martin

      I am Gay and although I am not a teacher this is my view. HOW DID THE STUDENTS OR PARENTS SEE THE PICS?? if you set your photos to public your dumb. I have many pics with my partner and they are on my facebook but they are only visable to perticular friends not to my whole friend file. if this teacher has his students as friends on his facebook then he needs to be fired for that in my view adding your students to your facebook is fraternisation and that is wrong. a teacher needs to keep to their place. no aspect of the teachers personal life needs to be known by the student just as no aspect of the students personal life needs be known by the teacher. if the teacher broke that basic rule then i agree he needs to be fired in my view this firing has nothing to do with his being gay and it does with his being stupid

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