When Carla Hale’s mother passed away at the end of February, you might expect that the Catholic high school where she had been teaching physical education for 19 years would surround her with love and support at her loss.
You would be wrong.
Hale and her brother wrote an obituary for their mother, and in it Hale named her long-time partner, Julie. When she returned to work at Bishop Watterson High School following the funeral, school administrators presented Hale with a copy of the obituary and an anonymous letter from a parent, calling the presence of a gay teacher in the school a disgrace.
The 57-year-old teacher was fired less than two weeks later. She was told that she had violated what is known as Diocesan Policy 45116.1, which states that Catholic school personnel are expected to be examples of moral behavior, and her spousal relationship violates the moral laws.
Really, Catholic church? That’s how you repay almost 20 years of devoted service?
“I was totally shocked. I mean, I think it was just one of those where everything was drained out of me,” Hale said.
“Bishop Watterson is an amazing place to be, with the staff, the faculty, it’s a very positive environment,” she said. “If it wouldn’t have been for my mom’s obituary and my partner’s name being Julie and not Chris or Pat or whomever, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now. It would be Wednesday, 8th period, badminton tournament,” she said.
Hale goes on to make an interesting point:
They’re [sic] probably honestly wouldn’t be a lot of teachers working here because if you go there, the Catholic Church doesn’t promote divorce, living with a heterosexual partner out of marriage, birth control.
I sometimes practice selective hearing with my students, if I really don’t want to hear what they just said; some Catholic schools, including Bishop Watterson, practice selective firing.
This is just the latest in a long list of atrocious behavior by the Catholic schools. Care2 reported here about Trish Cameron, fired from St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Moorhead, MN, for not opposing gay marriage; last year, a German kindergarten teacher was fired from a Catholic school for being a lesbian; then there’s the Catholic school in Lafayette, Louisiana that is forcing its teachers to sign a morality clause that asks them not to take birth control, marry outside the church, or engage in homosexual activity.
The double-standard in Catholic schools is alive and well.
In Hale’s case, there could be legal ramifications.
As the Columbus Dispatch reports:
A Columbus city ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation. City law also states that an employer cannot have a policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Those who are found guilty could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine…
Napoleon Bell, executive director of the city’s Community Relations Commission, said the city law has no exemption for religious organizations.
If you agree that the way Carla Hale has been treated is outrageous and discriminatory, please sign our petition, asking for her reinstatement to Bishop Watterson High School and an official apology for discriminating against her on the basis of sexuality.
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Photo Credit: NBC4