Midway through Pride month, the administration at Cathedral High School announced to their community that they would be “separating” from an LGBTQ+ teacher as “the continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in forfeiting [Cathedral High School’s] Catholic identity.”
The move by the high school, based in Indiana, caused a Change.org petition to be created in support of the teacher and has so far surpassed over 34,000 signatures.
The petition says the decision “is neither a Catholic nor a Christian one, but instead is an act of unjust discrimination and exclusion, not in keeping with the Catholic call to acceptance, defined by respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
The petition was created by alum Brandon Fogel who is asking teachers, parents, students, and fellow alumni to join him in opposition to Cathedral High School’s decision.
Overnight, thousands answered his call, lending their name to the following statement:
“As the Leadership should know, Cathedral High School with its reunification with the Brothers of Holy Cross, has officially embraced several core values including integrity, family, and inclusiveness and diversity.
“Cathedral prided itself on its diversity— even going so far as to inscribe this value in its mission. Yet when faced with this demand from Archbishop Charles Thompson and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Cathedral has not lived up to its promise.
“Therefore, we, the undersigned community, insist Cathedral live up to this mission and support a diverse environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all, but especially LGBTQ+ people, that enter the hill.
“To discriminate against a teacher or staff member based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status sends a clear message: that Cathedral does not foster a welcoming or accepting environment.
“Please consider how your decision will be received by the young LGBTQ+ students entrusted to your care. In choosing to terminate or not renew contracts with LGBTQ+ employees, the Leadership of Cathedral High School tells each of these students that they are not welcome. This message we firmly reject.”
As Brandon wrote, this decision “comes at a time when the global Church, exemplified by the papacy of Pope Francis, has embraced a more inclusive stance and pastoral tone toward the LGBTQ+ community.”
It was recently reported that the Indiana school received more than a million dollars in state funding in the last year.
On Thursday (June 27), Brandon posted an update to say he had spoken with leaders of the school.
“Overall, I walked out of the call having a better understanding on the situation that led to the decision to fire this teacher, but I still left wishing for more,” he said.
“Most importantly, I hoped to hear the leadership accept a level of blame for taking the action to fire the teacher and discuss the action steps they are taking to right this wrong. Ultimately, I heard neither in the language I wished.
“However, my sense is that the school does feel strongly that this was a bad decision, but they most likely cannot comment on the decision or their own actions due to the legal proceedings. The leadership did discuss with us several actions they had taken over the last two years to fight to keep this from happening.
“As for action steps, I believe that the school is most likely taking actions privately but that they most likely cannot discuss them at this time.”
The petition follows recent events in the UK where parents have protested against a ‘No Outsiders’ programme being taught at school.
The programme was created to include LGBT-inclusive teaching to raise awareness of issues affecting the community.