In her role as an instructor of Government, Law, and Psychology with London City Schools in Ohio, Jimmie Beall encouraged her students to be civic-minded and involved in community action, standing against discrimination in Ohio and elsewhere. Living in a smaller community meant that her students and their families saw Jimmie with her partner and children. Jimmie was well loved by her students and consistently received outstanding performance reviews and accolades, and she had recently been offered a written contract to teach the following year. But soon after being offered the contract, Jimmie was informed that she was being let go, and she later learned that the superintendent had discussed Jimmie’s sexual orientation with community members. After a successful lawsuit, Jimmie was able to find a new job with Columbus City Schools as a counselor, but she took with her the sting and harm of obvious discrimination.
“Unfortunately, there are places where discrimination happens regularly. What lawmakers need to understand is that this is a definite problem, and the only way to address it is to put something in writing. We can change minds and hearts — some people won’t listen, but if we change this law, discrimination won’t be a wide-open door. Our students are watching,” Jimmie said. “They realize adults have a measure of power they don’t. If adults aren’t safe, kids definitely don’t feel safe.”