Lesbian Catholic School Teacher Fired in Ohio
A Catholic high school teacher from Ohio was fired after an anonymous person sent the teacher’s employers a copy of her mother’s obituary, which mentions the teacher has a same-sex partner.
As reported in the Columbus Dispatch, Carla Hale, 57, says she was fired from Watterson High School in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville a few weeks after her mother’s death. Local NPR station WOSU reoported that Hale was in "total shock" when she learned she was being let go. She said it was, "like your legs had just been cut out from under you."
Bishop Watterson Principal Marian Hutson signed Hale’s termination letter, which was given to the teacher on March 28. "I turned to the principal and I said, ’Are we talking like immediately? Am I supposed to leave the building?’ And she just, she said, ’Yes.’"
Hale had been a health and physical education teacher at Watterson for 19 years. "To use my mom’s obituary, her death, to write this letter," she told WOSU. "Honestly, we wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for her death, nor if my partner’s name was Chris."
Hale’s students, alumni and other supporters quickly responded to the incident and took action once they found out what had happened. The Dispatch notes that, on Monday, a group created a petition on Change.org to urge the school administration’s to reinstate her. As of this writing, the petition has nearly 14,000 signatures. "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," the petition reads.
Hale, a practicing Methodist, said she felt humbled by the support from students, alumni and others who have heard about the incident. "It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation," she told the newspaper. "I’m in awe of them."