By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com April 17 2013 3:46 PM ET
A teacher at a Catholic school in Columbus, Ohio, has lost her job after her mother’s obituary revealed that the teacher is in a same-sex relationship.
Carla Hale told The Columbus Dispatch that when she returned to work at Bishop Watterson High School last month after her mother’s death, administrators showed her a letter than a parent had written anonymously to the Roman Catholic diocese of Columbus, “appalled that Hale had listed her female partner’s name in an obituary,” as the newspaper put it. Hale, who had taught physical education at the school for 19 years, was fired a few weeks later, and she says the reason was the revelation of her relationship.
Hale has filed a grievance under the terms of her labor contract, seeking reinstatement, and is considering other legal options, her attorney said. A diocesan official declined comment to the Dispatch, citing confidentiality of personnel matters, but the paper notes that the contract states teachers can be fired for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.”
Meanwhile, students and other supporters of Hale initiated a petition Monday on Change.org demanding that Hale get her job back. “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,” reads the petition, which had accumulated nearly 8,000 signatures, of a goal of 10,000, by this afternoon.
Hale expressed gratitude to her supporters, telling the Dispatch, “It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation. I’m in awe of them.”