School official who thwarted gay teen’s pageant candidacy returns to duties

Fullerton Union High School

Fullerton Union High School

FULLERTON, Calif. — The Fullerton Union High School assistant principal who was removed from campus after he disqualified a gay student from the school’s Mr. Fullerton pageant, will return to his job on Wednesday, according to school district officials.

Fullerton Union High School

In a statement Tuesday, District Superintendent George Giokaris said that Joe Abell will remain as an assistant principal at Fullerton Union High through the end of the school year, but will be will be reassigned to another school in the fall, where he will serve as a classroom teacher.

“Mr. Abell will return full-time to his regular duties as assistant principal at Fullerton Union High School (Wednesday). In addition, in January, 2012, Mr. Abell requested in writing reassignment to the classroom as a teacher for the 2012-13 school year so that he can spend more time with his wife and three young children.”

Giokaris maintained that Abell’s reassignment was not prompted by controversy due to Abell’s actions two weeks ago when he disqualified a student, Kearian Giertz, 17, from a school pageant when Giertz, asked where he saw himself in 10 years, responded that he hoped to find the love of his life, marry him and that same-sex marriage would be legal.

The superintendent has since apologized for the action, and said that Abell should not have disqualified Giertz.

Abell was removed from the campus on Monday while the superintendent continued to assess the incident.

“It is important for all of you to know that the District has in place a very clear nondiscrimination policy,” Giokaris added in that statement. “Over the next few weeks and months, District staff members will work concertedly with District students and parents to more effectively implement” that policy.

Abell apologized to Kearian the day following the incident and over the public-address system to the Fullerton Union High School student body.

Giokaris met with Kearian and his grandmother Monday, but would not disclose what they discussed.

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