Catholic School Fires Teacher After She is Outed in Mom’s Obituary

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?

From NBC4:

“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.


Related Care2 Coverage

School Fires Teacher For Opposing Gay Marriage

Church Can Fire Lesbian, But Only After Maternity Leave

‘To Teach Here, Promise You Will Never Do Anything We Think Is Immoral’


Photo Credit: NBC4


Sian R.
Sian R3 years ago

Why, if there is a law against such action, is it not being implemented?

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L4 years ago

We need ENDA with no exceptions for religious beliefs. ENDA NOW!

Biby C.
Biby C4 years ago

"examples of moral behaviour"?!?! What about all the sexual abuses by Catholic priests that have been going on for decades if not centuries?!?! Such hypocrites!

If I were Hale, I wouldn't even seek reinstatement. I would sue for discrimination and go look for another job. It'll be their loss!

Kay Martin
.4 years ago

Great article, More people need to stand up to the 2 faces of the catholic church and school system. I hope she does win her case for reinstatement, I hope who ever wrote that letter is required to step foirward and show themselves, for the coward they are, To write a letter like that and not sign your name. Shame on them. I do want to say I am so sorry for the death of that teacher's Mom. She has suffered enough. but to lose your job on top of it was just unbearable, So God Bless Her.

Vicki Fellner
Victoria Fellner4 years ago

I don't know how many people will see this but I just saw an NBC news story about this.

John B.
John B4 years ago

Thanks Judy for the article. What more could you expect for the RCC.

Elizabeth L.
Elizabeth L4 years ago

I would wonder how many of the staff and "spiritual" leaders of that school could stand up to moral scrutiny starting with the writer of the anonymous letter. What coward gets some-one sacked and doesn't even have the guts to sign a name. Do these schools take any public funding? The Catholic schools certainly do here and would be in court so fast if they crossed the anti-discrimination act.

Cynthia Blais
cynthia l4 years ago

Ridiculious and so hyprocritical of the Catholic church Such divine lessons of love and compassion they send

Sam O.
Shawn O4 years ago

This is disgusting! If Carla is a good teacher, what gives a Catholic organization (school) the "right" to judge her?! Do they know exactly what the parameters of her relationship with her partner are?? Maybe they're simply BEST friends who love each other and have chosen to live together; maybe they have a special bond that no one else would understand; maybe they're intimate/sexual partners... Whose business is it??? She apparently was considered an upstanding, good teacher until the word "partner" was used -- what changed that?? The lack of understanding, compassion, and decency by the people who fired her are among the reasons why the Catholic church has lost so many Catholic followers!! Wake up and reinstate teacher Carla Hale!

clara h.
Clara HIRLEHEY4 years ago

I think this is one low blow. I thought it was illegal to fire someone by their sexual orientation. This should not come in to play, not to mention dealing with the death of her mother. This is just wrong. This is playing dirty, I would like to see fines & charges come out of this. I hope she can sue their asses of off. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU !!