A middle school chorus teacher who lost his job after disclosing that he is bisexual has filed a discrimination suit in federal court against the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Nicholas Breiner's teaching contract was not renewed for the 2017-18 school year after he posted on Instagram that he is bisexual. Montgomery County Superintendent Matthew Thompson said last year that there was no connection between Breiner's disclosure and the loss of the McNabb Middle School job.
The federal suit filed last week is similar to another suit Breiner filed last month against the board of education in Montgomery Circuit Court.
Breiner was director of vocal music and director of the theater department at the middle school.
Each complaint says Breiner disclosed his sexual orientation as a bisexual male on April 7, 2017, on social media. Three days later, each suit says, Breiner was summoned to a meeting where he was questioned about his sexual orientation by Deputy Superintendent Rick Culross.
Each suit says Breiner was "pink slipped" by the board of education on May 8, 2017. The Montgomery County complaint says Breiner was told his contract was not renewed "due to budget restraints, performance and protocol." The federal suit says the reason given was "due to budget restraints."
But in July 2017, Breiner learned that his McNabb Middle School position was filled by a heterosexual female.
Breiner alleges the discrimination was due to his sexual orientation. He filed a charge of discrimination in violation of federal law with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August.
The federal complaint seeks a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and back pay.
Breiner said he made his sexual orientation public to lend comfort to some of his LGBT students who had been suicidal.
"I felt they need to know there was someone in the room that understood and supported them, regardless of who they were," his Instagram post said. "As terrifying as it was to admit, I had to value someone else's well-being over my own privacy."
After his dismissal, several parents and students protested in support of Breiner.