Statement of Nomination of Joe Quigley for the 2012 Angie Debo Award
from the ACLU of Oklahoma
Nomination made with the permission of Mr. Quigley by James Nimmo
Joe Quigley, a former Oklahoma City public school English teacher, battled for a number of years advocating for the right of GLBT students in the Oklahoma City public schools to be covered with specific language under the anti-bullying policies of the Board and to have that policy published in the student/parent/teacher handbook.
He was eventually successful in his intent to protect all public school students, regardless of orientation--be it perceived, questioning, or actual.
He faced down reprisals, threats, intimidation, public ridicule, a public dismissal hearing and a county court trial that ruled in his favor. With meticulous record keeping and documentation he was able to prove his case with facts and to disprove the calumny made against both his professional standards and his private life.
He was so successful in his legal case that the Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill into law making legal the tactics used by the school board against Joe Quigley. This law is a form of reprisal detrimental to all public school teachers in that it removes the protections of employment that made Mr. Quigley's advocacy a success.
All the while, Mr. Quigley's situation was publicized in Oklahoma City media, both print and broadcast forms, yet he never wavered in his determination that public school students should be allowed to attend school and maximize their education in an atmosphere of respect and safety.
Mr. Quigley's advocacy is now a standard in Oklahoma and a model nationwide for those also wanting to remove the stigma of being gay, lesbian, transgendered or bi-sexual from student life in public education.