CLASS ACT

A Catholic School Fired A Beloved Teacher For Marrying. Here’s How His Students Responded.

Zmuda swim teamThe Catholic Church just loves to fire LGBT teachers, particularly a crucial events in their lives. There’s the case of Carla Hale, who was canned because she listed her partner in his mother’s obituary. There’s Tippi McCullough, who was fired an hour after her wedding. There’s Ken Bencomo, who got the pink slip for marrying his partner. And most recently, there’s Michael Griffin, who was shown the door just for applying for a marriage license.

The ostensible reason for getting rid of teachers who have worked for a decade or more at these Catholic schools is that they violated Church teaching. (Would that the administrators were as concerned when priests were violating students.)

So, it’s probably no surprise that Mark Zmuda was forced to resign as vice principal at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, WA, because he married his partner. What happened next, though, proves how out of touch the administration is with its own students.

The students staged a sit in. Then they walked out in solidarity.

Approximately 400 students were so upset and angered at the school’s action (at the order of the Archdiocese of Seattle) that they essentially shut down the school. The swim team, which Zmuda coached,  brought a banner to its swim meet proclaiming its support for him. Flustered administrators were so caught off guard that they end up closing cancelling classes and closing the school early for Christmas break.

Not only were Zmuda’s own students upset. The forced resignation led to a sit-in at another Catholic school, Seattle Prep.

The actions aren’t just in support of Zmuda, who is by all accounts a great teacher. It’s in support of marriage equality, which should have the hierarchy really concerned.

“Just because I’m Catholic doesn’t mean I need to believe every rule the church has,” freshman Sophia Cerino told the Seattle Times. “We think the rule over gay marriage is totally unfair. Everyone seems to think the same thing — that we should all be treated equal.”

That’s the future speaking. Let’s see if the hierarchy, including the Man of the Year, listens.