A highly-regarded coach and school counselor is fighting back after losing her job at her Catholic alma mater for being married to a woman, The Record reports.
Kate Drumgoole, 33, the former basketball coach and the Dean of Guidance for Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging that the school, its president, and the Archdiocese of Newark illegally discriminated against her for being a lesbian and caused intentional emotional distress.
Drumgoole said she didn’t talk about her wife at work and that only one co-worker knew about her marriage.
“I’m a private person,” Drumgoole told The Record. “Particularly when you work with adolescents, I believe your private life should be private.”
So how did the school find out about her marriage? According to the Drumgoole, things started to unravel after Elaine Vanore, her wife’s sister, create a Facebook account from which she sent photos of the couples 2014 wedding to pages associated with the college as well as its president after getting into an argument with her sister.
Vanore faces allegations of emotional distress and unlawful interference with Drumgoole’s employment. Her attorney denies the allegations. But just days after the messages were sent, Drumgoole says she was suspended without reason and barred from coaching a basketball game that evening.
But it’s not as simple as violating a school or church policy and facing the consequences, Drumgoole says. In a court filing, she noted that her firing could be retaliatory. Drumgoole says she recently told school administrators that two Paramus Catholic employees sexually abused three teenage students during a trip to Europe in 2011.
She also says the school’s policies are being unevenly applied, claiming that other staff engage in behaviors that are against church doctrine, include getting divorced, having children out of wedlock, extra-marital cohabitation, and sharing nude photos of another teacher.
“There are people who are living lives that go against the tenets of the church and they’re still employed there,” Drumgoole told The Record.
In the wake of her unexpected firing, Drumgoole has received moral support from students’ parents, current and former school staff, and others.
“I can’t even pick a word. I was shocked, upset, annoyed,” Al Roth, the girls basketball coach who preceded Drumgoole and coached her when she played ball, told The Record. “She, within the building, did nothing wrong but continue to be a perfect role model.”
He added that while he was raised Catholic and is therefore familiar with the doctrines, Drumgoole has earned his loyalty.
“When I lost my wife two years ago, she could not have been more supportive,” he said. “She visited my wife while I worked and on weekends.”
For now, the beloved educator says she lined up a temporary teaching job in a public school, covering for someone’s maternity leave.