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Students Demand Return of Guidance Counselor Fired for Being a Lesbian

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Officials at the Indianapolis Catholic school do not appear to be swayed.

Indianapolis teens met with Roncalli High School's archbishop on Sunday to plead for the return of their guidance counselor, who was fired after officials discovered she was married to a woman.

Following 15 years of employment, the Catholic school dismissed Shelly Fitzgerald after a parishioner requested a public copy of her marriage certificate and sent it to administrators, reports The Indianapolis Star. Roncalli staff gave her three options: divorce, resign, or wait to be fired.

"Archbishop Thompson ultimately makes the decision on whether or not Ms. Fitzgerald is allowed to hold her position," Roncalli junior Anna Clodfelter said in a statement released by students. "Our focus from this point on will be calling on Archbishop Thompson to do what is right."

The school defended itself in the following statement:

"As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church. These teachings include, but are not limited to: honoring the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, care for God's creation, and the belief that all persons are called to respect human sexuality and its expression in the Sacrament of Marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of God's love and fidelity to His Church."

Students expressed shock at the school's callousness, and concern for its effect on LGBTQ youth.

"We were able to convey our concerns on the mental health of students who either identify with the LGBT community or connect with Ms. Fitzgerald as their guidance counselor," student Madison Aldrich said in a statement. "Many students consider Ms. Fitzgerald's office their 'safe place.' How will LGBT students feel if they see adults firing adults based on who they love?"

The school claims its anti-LGBTQ policy is "clearly defined in school employee contracts and ministerial job descriptions."

On social media, Fitzgerald said she felt "had to stay hidden and quiet from my friends or risk losing my job... I ask that you pray for my family, for change in the world, and know I have absolutely loved my job for the past 15 years."

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