After 19 years, Carla Hale, a physical education teacher and coach at Bishop Watterson High School, was unexpectedly terminated by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. According to students who are campaigning to have her reinstated, the decision was based on her sexuality.
Outlook Columbus reports:
Hale’s mother, Jeanne E. Roe of Powell, passed away on Feb. 25, and her obituary appeared in The Columbus Dispatch the next day. Hale’s partner, Julie, was listed among Roe’s survivors. That is what prompted school officials to fire Hale, the source said.
Outraged students have responded with a petition on Change.org, calling on Bishop Watterson to issue an apology to Hale and reinstate her immediately:
Carla Hale…was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today’s society. It’s unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control. The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale. That is why we all have to stand up together and let it be known that this decision is unacceptable.
So far, the petition has garnered over 10,000 supporters. Bishop Watterson High School and the Catholic Diocese have yet to respond to the allegations, though Diocese spokesman George Jones told Outlook it’s church policy not to comment on personnel matters.
This is the second time this year that an Ohioan Catholic school has run afoul of the LGBT community. Back in February, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati fired Mike Moroski, an assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School, after he publicly supported same-sex marriage on his personal blog.