When a gym teacher at a Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio was fired after her mother’s obituary revealed that she was in a lesbian relationship, her supporters, led by her students, initiated a Change.org petition to rehire her that easily surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures, according to a release.
More than 40,000 people have signed the petition to support Bishop Watterson High School rehiring Carla Hale, a physical education teacher there for 19 years.
Hale told The Columbus Dispatch that when she returned to work following her mother’s funeral last month, school administrators showed her a letter a parent, "appalled” that Hale’s name was listed next to another woman’s in the obit, had written to the Roman Catholic diocese of Columbus. The Diocese of Columbus fired her a few days later on Holy Thursday, according to a release from Change.org.
“To see The Church, which is rooted on love and acceptance, show such intolerance is extremely disheartening,” said Hope Vacarro, a senior at Bishop Watterson, according to Change.org. “Ms. Hale is a woman who has dedicated her life to the education of children, and she deserves immense respect for that. She is a moral and ethical educator who has done nothing but bring friendship and guidance to Watterson students.”
Hale has filed a grievance under the terms of her labor contract, seeking reinstatement, and is considering other legal options, her attorney said, according to The Dispatch.
Regarding the outpouring of support she’s received Hale told The Dispatch, “It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation. I’m in awe of them.”