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Students at Catholic school in Columbus say teacher was fired because she is gay

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Students at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, are fighting for a longtime physical education teacher and coach they say was been fired by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus because she’s gay.

Carla Hale is liked and respected by students and colleagues, but people close to her and the school say she was terminated after Bishop Watterson and church officials were told that she included her partner, Julie, in her mother’s newspaper obituary.

Bishop Watterson High School, Columbus, Ohio.

Students began an online petition on Monday that has been gaining about 100 supporters per hour. It was up to 2,800 by noon today.

The petition calls Hale a beloved 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,” reads the petition, started by Watterson senior Jackson Garrity. “Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today’s society. … 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.”

Carla Hale

Garrity said students learned of Hale’s firing this week, although they weren’t told directly by the school. The school didn’t tell faculty either, others said.

“She’s a great lady,” a former colleague said of Hale. “She’s totally dedicated to her students.”

Two people who know others who’ve spoken to Hale told Outlook the details of her termination. Hale’s mother, Jeanne E. Roe of Powell, passed away on Feb. 25, and her obituary appeared in The Columbus Dispatch the next day.

Hale’s partner, Julie, was listed among Roe’s survivors. That is what prompted school officials to fire Hale, the source said.

“My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue,” Garrity told Outlook by email. “We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.”

Neither Principal Marian Hutson nor diocese spokesman George Jones have responded to requests for comment. Hale still is listed on Watterson’s website as head of the school’s health and physical education department.

It’s the second time this year that Catholic schools in Ohio have fired educators for ties to the LGBT community.

In February, Mike Moroski, an assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati, was fired by the Cincinnati Archiocese after he stated his support for marriage equality on his personal blog.

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25 more reader comments:

  1. another reason to hate the Catholic church – they’re not just pedofiles, they’re judgmental a-holes, plain and simple

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:00pm
  2. Wow

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:00pm
  3. Really, she was probably fired for not staying chaste. The Church treats gays the same way as single people: If you aren’t having sex, then you’re fine.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:00pm
  4. Catholic school and gay teacher doesn’t mix well now does it?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:00pm
  5. Where is this petition?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:01pm
  6. Here is a thought – Fire the Bishop instead.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:02pm
  7. the students should just walk out of the school.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:08pm
  8. Why wouldn’t it? There are gay clergy members, gay parishioners, and there is nothing outright in the Bible that is more clear than loving your neighbors.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:15pm
  9. Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:26pm
  10. how would you or anybody else know if she wasn’t chaste???

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:28pm
  11. How shameful of the Church.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:28pm
  12. interesting enough im not supriseed catholic and gay but clearly you can tell the women is gay

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:29pm
  13. Not cool Watterson not cool

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:30pm
  14. Am I the only one who can see the good news story here! The students are backing her! A whole generation of non homophobic kids, the catholics didn’t manage to poison their minds with hate.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:32pm
  15. if the school is PRIVATE – supported totally by Catholic church they have that right…but the students have the right to refuse to attend the school!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:35pm
  16. more than one way around the ignorance!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:35pm
  17. and if gays could marry, the chaste idea would be a moot point

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:41pm
  18. The Catholic Church isn’t judgmental. People just think that because it won’t accept gay marriage and women priests.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:54pm
  19. OH HELL NO THEY DIDN’T !!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:02pm
  20. I’m sure she is a great teacher but this is what you get when you mix education and religion. I hope she finds a private school (that is not religious affiliated) to teach at.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:22pm
  21. Vomitous

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:24pm
  22. Private Catholic schools receive public resources. They should not be allowed discriminate.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:26pm
  23. Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 3:41pm
  24. Where is the petition? I would like to sign it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:58pm
  25. I get what you’re saying, but keep in mind of those who hate and discriminate under the name.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:45pm