Columbus Teacher Fired for Being Gay will Meet with Principal
Updated: Tuesday, April 23 2013, 07:24 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- A popular teacher who was fired from a central Ohio private school for being gay is meeting with her former boss in hopes of getting her job back.
Former Bishop Watterson High School phys-ed teacher Carla Hale told ABC 6/FOX 28 she'll soon meet with Principal Marian Hutson to discuss her recent firing. Hale described the meeting as the first step in the grievance process her lawyer filed against the school.
Hale was fired from Bishop Watterson a week after the public posting of her mother's obituary, which listed Hale's female partner as her spouse.
“I’m not ashamed, and my mom loved Julie, and Julie loved my mom. She should have been included as all other family,” Hale said.
After the obituary was published, an anonymous letter was sent to the Bishop Watterson Diocese by the mother of a student, expressing outrage over Hale's employment.
"I was shocked by what I saw," the letter read. "It had her teacher's name and that of her 'spouse' listed. It was two females. "How can the Diocese of Columbus allow this?"
Hale was fired a week after the obituary was brought to the attention of the Diocese. In the termination letter, Hale is told, "Your written spousal relationship violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church."
In response to the Hale's firing, the former teacher's supporters created an online petition, calling for her reinstatement. As of mid-April, the petition had garnered more than 7000 signatures.
Hale said she is overwhelmed by the support of Bishop Watterson students, alumni, and friends, along with people she's never met. She said she's received several calls, letters, and emails from those supporting her effort to return to her position.
The mother of three is also receiving strong support from her children, two of whom have followed her into the teaching profession.
Contrary to the opinions of some community members, Hale insists she never intentionally hid her sexual orientation from the public, but admits she does prefer to keep the details of her personal life private.
Despite her firing, Hale said she hopes to return to Bishop Watterson to resume her career, though she said she does not believe the grievance process will result in her reinstatement.
Hale's layer, Thomas Tootle, said he may file a lawsuit if his client is not allowed to return to her job.
Hale's battle against the school she loves is garnering national attention, which comes as a surprise to the former teacher. She said she hopes the love and support she's receiving will serve as an inspiration to young people who are questioning their sexuality for the first time.
Reporter: Carol Luper
Web Producer: Ken Hines