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Water Polo Coach Insists He Was Fired For Being Gay

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Juan_Fernandez_08062010 Juan Fernandez
Juan Fernandez joined CBS 2 News as a general assignment reporter in...
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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.

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