“I was very strict because I was afraid kids would discover I was gay.”

John Byrne is a high school English teacher in New York. He describes his classes as rowdy—and he’s known for encouraging students to be themselves. But, as he told former student Samantha Liebman, when John was a young teacher 30 years ago, he had a very different style.

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Note: StoryCorps founder Dave Isay went to high school at Friends Seminary, where John teaches. That fact had no relation to choosing this story for broadcast.

Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by Jasmyn Belcher
Facilitated by Rose Gorman
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Click here for the transcript.
In partnership with
Friends Seminary