The high school religion teacher who got caught unloading her antigay views on Facebook is returning to the classroom, reports Advance Media.
Outrage over comments made by Patricia Jannuzzi, a teacher at Immaculata High School, had sparked a Change.org petition and made it all the way to Susan Sarandon plus one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who was a former student.
Before being ordered by school officials to remove her posts, the teacher had said the gay "agenda" seeks to "reengineer western civ into a slow extinction" and argued being gay or lesbian is a choice. Because Jannuzzi believes it's a choice, she also says gays and lesbians don't deserve equal protection under the 14th Amendment. That's the crux of the legal debate over marriage equality, but without the 14th Amendment it's also fine to discriminate against gays and lesbians in housing, employment and everyday life.
Jannuzzi has not taken back that position, but her administrative leave is over anyway and she can begin teaching theology once more at the Catholic high school, reports Advance Media.
In a copy of the letter reinstating Jannuzzi that was obtained by Advance Media, school administrators side with her interpretation of the Constitution.
"From the beginning this was a personnel and not a theological issue," wrote Msgr. Seamus Brennan on behalf of he and the principal, Jean Kline. "We are now and always have been united in our understanding and commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church."
Since there's no problem in their eyes with the content of the letter, they said the administrative leave had really just been a result of "tone and choice of words."
"It is the School's position that a Catholic school teacher must always communicate the faith in a way that is positive and never hurtful," wrote Brennan.
Sarandon's nephew, Scott Lyons, had once been a student of Jannuzzi and now has a husband and child. He wrote a letter to Jannuzzi and posted it on Facebook, which added to the original furor. After the news that she is returning to teaching students, Lyons expressed mixed feelings.
"I'm not sure she suffered any consequence from this as any shame she could have felt initially may have been overshadowed by all the support she got in the end," he wrote on Facebook on Friday. But, he said, "I still believe some good came from this. We all make mistakes. At best, she learned from this and a message has been sent that we all need to be held accountable for our words."
Sarandon went on social media after Lyons originally spoke out, saying she was "proud" of him "and the dialogue he started." That turned her into a lightning rod for attacks, including one by Father Peter West, who wrote an open letter in a local newspaper.
"You support your friends and don't mind harming your perceived enemies, as is natural if not exactly Christlike," wrote the vice president for Missions Human Life International. "You have essentially exercised veto power over what will be taught, not only at Immaculata, but at Catholic high schools throughout the country. What happened to Patricia Jannuzzi will create a chilling effect on other teachers who might be inclined to defend Catholic teaching on marriage and chastity in or outside the classroom."