A high-school teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas, was fired after a video of him having sex with another man was hacked and posted on the school’s website, where it was seen by students.
From all accounts, 29-year-old Brian Cody Bray was an exemplary member of the faculty at Maumelle Charter High School—teaching physics and algebra, coaching quiz bowl and robotics teams, and even tutoring students before and after school
But it all came crashing down in late September when a colleague revealed an intimate encounter was online.
“Pretty much immediately after that phone call I went to the bathroom and threw up,” Bray told the Washington Blade.
“I was just in shock that, oh my God, this is something that will impact my career, impact my life and what am I going to do?”
At a meeting with principal Kimberly Willis and school-district director Rob McGillis, Bray tried to explain that his email account had been broken into. The hacker gained access to passwords and user name for various accounts, including Dropbox, where Bray was storing “a video recording of an intimate encounter between myself and another informed, consenting adult male.”
Te attack was not just a prank, he says, but a cyber hate crime targeting Bray because of his sexuality. (The hacker even changed the name of the Dropbox folder the video was in from “Private” to “FagTeachBray.”)
Reports the Blade:
The video was first posted on the school website on Monday, Sept. 28, according to a posting time stamp on the site, Bray said. On that same day, someone identifying himself as “Jonathan” began sending text messages to one of Bray’s students telling the student that his teacher Bray was a “fag” and that the student should look at the video.
Bray, who posted a screen shot of the text message exchanges between “Jonathan” and the student, said he believes that “Jonathan” is the hacker, whom Bray doesn’t believe is a student. The student who received the text messages reported that the sender had his own cell phone number blocked on his text messages.
But on October 8, McGill and principal Willis told Bray they had no choice but to fire him.
Initially, he says he agreed with their decision: “Of course I had to be dismissed at the time, because I had lost any kind of authority with my students there,” he told the Blade.
But after the initial shock wore off he felt like administrators were telling the Maumelle community it was his fault.
School officials filed an ethics complaint against him with the Arkansas Professional Licensure Standards Board, which ultimately determined there was insufficient evidence he violated any code of ethics.
Bray was told the incident was also allegedly reported to the Maumelle Police Department—though police say they have no report about the video from the school.
Unsurprisingly, Arkansas has neither a state hate-crime law nor statutes banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bray says he never discussed his sexuality students, but the fact that he was gay was widely known. He remains unemployed since his termination, and has created a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds while he looks for work.