Students launch petition after a popular gay teacher is sacked from a US Catholic high school

Carla Hale (Photo Credit: Brooke LaValley, Columbus Dispatch)

Carla Hale (Photo Credit: Brooke LaValley, Columbus Dispatch)

CARLA Hale’s “crime” was to include the name of her partner Julie in her mum’s obituary last month. This prompted an anonymous complaint to Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus Ohio, and the PE teacher, who worked at the school for 19 years, was promptly sacked.

This infuriated students, who set up a petition calling for her reinstatement. It 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 by the Diocese of Columbus because of her sexuality.

Last month Ms. Hale’s mother passed away, and the local newspaper listed her female partner’s name in the obituary. Someone sent an anonymous letter to the diocese to complain. When Ms. Hale returned to work after burying her mother, she was terminated.

She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The diocese, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. 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 diocese 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 Diocese of Columbus hears us and decides to overturn its decision.

Almost 21,000 people have so far signed the petition, started by Watterson senior Jackson Garrity, who said:

My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue. We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.

Hale said here:

If it were not for an obituary that appeared in the paper, none of this would be happening… She asked me if I really wanted to put her name in there — in the obituary — but as we sat there that day — my mom really loved Julie and Julie  loved my my mom and as I sat there with my brother, you know, it was like… his wife was mentioned, my niece’s husband was mentioned, so why not? Why not my person I love?

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

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.

Meanwhile, the Catholic backlash against New Zealand’s legalisation of gay marriage has begun.

And just for a laugh, a University professor claims that people are in danger of catching The Gay from erototoxins spread by porn.

19 responses to “Students launch petition after a popular gay teacher is sacked from a US Catholic high school”

  1. Broga says:

    It’s enough to make me weep. Some low life reads about her partner an hidden away,d writes to the school. She is sacked. For what? Brilliant teacher and revered by her pupils. Compare this to the protection given over the years to paedophile priests: moved to other parishes, given new parishes so they can abuse again.

  2. Lazy Susan says:

    A very well written piece by the students. There is hope for us all yet.

    I wonder what would happen if they all go on strike by refusing to attend the school or attending but ignoring the staff.

  3. Don says:

    That school should be humbled that despite the evident petty-minded bigotry of it’s management it has somehow produced smart, decent and determined students.

  4. Sally says:

    Bravo to the students. Back in the 70’s our few black students did a walkout protesting the lack of a black girl on the Homecoming ballot. She was the first black cheerleader and a really nice girl. The school relented not because it was right, but because they couldn’t win the football game without those players. Disgusted is what I was back then, and disgusted I am 40 years later. Oh, and that school is public, but also in Ohio. And the girl? She was voted onto the Court by the students, and is now a teacher.

  5. Mark O'Leary says:

    The reason this petition effort will fail is that the Catholic Church is an antidemocratic institution. No one gets a vote, not their conscience, not personal ethics. Rules are top-down and immutable. If you want to play their game, you have to follow their rules.

  6. JohnMWhite says:

    Is this even legal? I get that it’s a church-run school but I’m pretty sure private and religious institutions can’t just fire somebody for being gay, black, Jewish or whathave you.

  7. T says:

    The boss of the Church of England does not recognise the word discrimination either so it seems devout piety and belief in god sanctions petty bigoted nasty unjust unfair and shameful treatment of those innocent people who do not fit the desired template demanded by the righteous. Rape a child, bomb a marathon, mutilate the genitals of children, spread aids by condemning condom use, abuse junior priests that you have power over, cane children into submission, ………… and thats ok because god said so. What breathtaking arrogance. Beyond contempt.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    Discrimination is something that people have fought for generations.

    This is a terrible truth. People have fought against discrimination for generations. People have fought against Numbers 12:1 (don’t marry across the color line), and against Leviticus 21:17-23 (disabled people are less human than able people), and against 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (women are less human than men), and against 1 Peter 2:18 (slavery is condoned by God).

    What makes things complicated is when you’re part of a group that discriminates for over two thousand years, then you get angry because when it happens to one of your own you get upset. There are some words for that sort of double standard. Some of those words are unkind.

  9. Stonyground says:

    I wonder whether the identity of nasty little grass who wrote the letter will eventually come to light? Had I chosen the wording of the petition there would have been a couple of sentences aimed at this morally bankrupt little coward.

    As JohnMWhite said, I would have thought this was illegal in the US. In the UK, the CofE has exemptions from employment laws, which says a lot about their claims of being the moral conscience of the nation, but I can’t see how that could be the case in the US.

  10. David Anderson says:

    I won’t catch The Gay from watching porn. I always wear my HazChem suit.

  11. Matt Westwood says:

    “a University professor claims that people are in danger of catching The Gay from erototoxins spread by porn.”

    Bring it on. Anything that limits the spread of pregnancy throughout the world is a good thing.

  12. Matt Westwood says:

    The petition is up to over 31000, and counting.

  13. Broga says:

    As for the C. of E. this is the morally concerned outfit that is prepared to bankrupt and drive from their homes people who live within the ambit of certain churches. These people, even atheists, are forced to pay for the upkeep of the church and if they have to mortgage or sell their home well that’s too bad. Does Justin Welby have any views on this? Is he prepared to ensure this pernicious medieval legislation is rescinded? Or is it a case of, “Do as I moralise, but not as I do.”

  14. JohnMWhite says:

    @Trevor Blake: That’s a bit unfair, it’s not as if these children chose to have water poured over their heads and some magic words muttered so that they become Catholics. Who says they wanted to be part of a group that discriminates? Their parents made that choice for them.

    It says a lot that the students are the ones fighting to keep an adult in a job because other adults are so petty they don’t want to be around a lesbian.

  15. Brummie says:

    @ Matt W.
    Any thing that reduces the explosion of world population,in an humane way,has to be good. We are a finite world in material terms and continuing to choose to increase our numbers (which we do) will inevitably end in disaster. Perhaps this is the one threat to humanity even worse than pernicious religions, though I hate them all.

  16. Marky Mark says:

    (I won’t catch The Gay from watching porn. I always wear my HazChem suit.)
    I found that article hilarious, but what can one expect from Liberty University. The worry is that every year they release thousands of brain dead students into our population with such teachings embedded into their brain washed minds.

  17. jeff says:

    Her ‘crime’ wasn’t to include the name of her partner Julie in the mum’s obituary.
    Her ‘crime’ was to contact with her former employer in bad faith. To take a job with a religiously based organization that had a standard of ethics that she she agreed to abide by, but instead ignored.

    What this ‘good teacher’ was teaching her students, is that if someone believes in something you think is silly, just lie to them.

  18. barriejohn says:

    Jeff: “Standard of ethics”? You’ve got to be joking!

    The faculty and staff of Bishop Watterson High School understand and respect Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching.

    Where is the evidence that Carla Hale had mentioned her homosexuality in school? As no one even knew that she was gay prior to this I’d say that the evidence was that she had never raised the subject. It would appear that she had, as a teacher, and whatever her private views, been “respecting Catholic doctrine”, as required.

    Bishop Watterson High School is a safe, supportive, and challenging learning environment which gives students opportunities to become confident, self-directed, and life-long learners.

    And what if – horror of horrors – one of their students should announce that he or she has “homosexual tendencies” (it could happen – even in a Catholic environment)? Would they adopt the Ahmadinejad position: “We’re all good Catholics. There are no homosexuals here”? I think Ms Hale is better off outside that repressive environment, personally, where she can be herself, but I fear for any students in the school who ARE gay.