After 19 years as a physical education teacher, Carla Hale was suddenly fired last month.
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
According to a contract between the Columbus diocese and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators, teachers can be terminated for "immorality" or "serious unethical conduct." George Jones, a spokesman for the diocese, had no comment yesterday, saying personnel matters are confidential.
Hale personally recalls the incident:
On Monday, a petition was initiated by students and friends demanding Hale’s reinstatement. It has since gained over 11,069 signatures.
The petition reads:
Discrimination is something that people have fought for generations. The most prominent form of discrimination in today's society is discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Carla Hale, a beloved teacher at Bishop Watterson High School, was fired because of her sexuality. She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today's society. It's unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control. 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. That is why we all have to stand up together and let it be known that this decision is unacceptable. If we do not fight this issue now, it will happen again, and that is not something we can allow. When we allow injustice to go unnoticed and unpunished, we all are hurt. We have an obligation to Ms. Hale and ourselves to make sure the school hears us and decides to overturn its decision.
Students spoke out on her dismissal:
Former student Amanda Lux wrote on the petition page:
When I was a student at Bishop Watterson, we were always taught to treat others with dignity and compassion. As an alumni, I still credit Bishop Watterson with shaping me into the person I am today -- both morally and ethically. I am deeply saddened to learn that, in spite of what Watterson taught me about respect for all humanity, a longstanding and well-respected faculty member was treated so unfairly.
A Facebook group has emerged in support of Hale:
And on Twitter, #halestorm is being used in support:
Hale has filed a grievance under the terms of the contract, seeking her job back. Her attorney, Thomas Tootle, said they are exploring other legal options.
Update - April 24, 10:13 a.m.: Equality Ohio announces Carla Hale and her lawyer will announce the decision on the grievance she filed about losing her job at Bishop Watterson High School:
April 24, 10:32 a.m.: It has been announced that her grievance was denied:
She reacted to the news this morning:
According to Ms. Hale she was not fired for being gay, but rather because the publicization of her spousal relationship violates church teachings.