A Bishop Watterson teacher fired over her sexual orientation says she will continue to pursue the grievance process in a fight to regain her job. Former phys-ed teacher Carla Hale met with Watterson principal Marian Hutson Tuesday.
Hale: I went into the meeting hopefully that I could return to work. it is therefore with deep regret I announce Watterson's decision to deny my request. This is not the end. I intend to seek appeal to the grievance committee of the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators. The decision that I made to acknowledge Julie, my partner, in my mother's obituary is not immoral. I wish to announce that it is also my intention to file a complaint with the Community Relations Commision of the city of Columbus.
Hale, who worked at Watterson for 19 years, was fired in March. A parent who had seen Hale's mother's obituary listing Hale's partner complained to the Diocese of Columbus, who fired her April 10th for failing to comply with policies and regulations. Hale says she never discussed her orientation with students, but she's deeply moved by how many students, parents and alumni have ralled to support her.
Hale: My emotions are on such a spectrum.... I go from gratitude to overwhelming amazement. The phone calls and the emails and the texts I've received from former students and parents.... and I have to be supporting all of those who are standing up on my behalf.
Hale says the diocese insists she was not fired for because she is gay, but because the acknowledgement of the spousal relationship with her partner in her mother's obituary runs counter to church teaching. The diocese, which has declined to discuss what they see as private personnel matter, said in a statement released today that: "Personnel who choose to publicly espouse relationships or principles that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot, ultimately, remain in the employ of the Church." Hale's decision to file a complaint with the Community Relations Commission may take the case to a new level; under city ordinances it is illegal to discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation.