A school has defended the firing of its guidance counsellor by claiming she is not a good “role model”.
Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, has come under fire from students and parents over the dismissal of guidance counsellor Shelly Fitzgerald.
The Catholic school is alleged to have dismissed Fitzgerald after an unknown person requested a public copy of her marriage certificate and sent it to school officials.
Fitzgerald was given a choice to end her marriage, resign, or be dismissed.
The Indianapolis Star reports that she was later fired.
The school has now posted a public statement that has only stirred more anger.
It states: “Catholic schools are ministries of the Catholic Church, and teachers, school guidance counselors and administrators are vital ministers in sharing the mission of the Church.
“[Staff members] are expected to be role models and are expressly charged with leading students toward Christian maturity and with teaching the Word of God.
“As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“These teachings include, but are not limited to: honoring the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, care for God’s creation, and the belief that all persons are called to respect human sexuality and its expression in the Sacrament of Marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of God’s love and fidelity to His Church.
“These expectations are clearly defined in school employee contracts and ministerial job descriptions so every employee can make an informed decision regarding their employment prior to the start of each program year and before signing the annual contract.
“When the expectations of a contract are not being met, the employee and the school will attempt to reach a resolution so that the contractual requirements are fulfilled.”
It added: “Roncalli does not discuss specific details of school personnel matters. Roncalli takes seriously its responsibility to treat all employees fairly and to not discuss their employment record in a public forum.
“All employees must be afforded the right to have their individual situations reviewed in a fair, professional and private manner.”
The Star reports that Fitzgerald has hired an attorney.
In a social media post she said: “You may hear some things coming up soon and I wanted to let you know the truth and what’s going on.
“For those of you who I haven’t shared everything with in the past, I’m sorry.
“For the past 15 years I’ve been at Roncalli, I have had to hide my 22 year relationship with someone who I love very much and adore sharing parenthood with. But I’ve had to stay hidden and quiet from my friends or risk losing my job.
“Well today it’s all coming to and end. Someone sought out my marriage certificate from Hancock county and turned it into [the school].”
She added: “I let them know I have no intention of divorcing, no intention of quitting, and no intention of not telling anyone why I have to leave the job I’ve loved so much.
“I ask that you pray for my family, for change in the world, and know I have absolutely loved my job for the past 15 years.
“The thing I have always loved most about Roncalli is the students speaking up and doing the right thing.”
Hundreds of parents, students and alumni have posted messages of support for the teacher, and complained about the school’s actions.
According to RTV6, students at the school are reportedly planning defiant pro-LGBT protests in support of the guidance counsellor when classes resume.