A student and parent protest is set to take place today at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington after two gay teachers were forced from their jobs after becoming engaged to their same-sex partners.
The Stranger reports: “The teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, had both been employed by the school for six years. Both became engaged to their partners last year, and according to a source familiar with the matter, when they informed school leadership, they were told they could continue their employment at the school if they agreed to keep their engagements private or they could resign and be bought out of their contracts. The teachers reportedly chose the latter option and were officially dismissed from their positions last week, after several months of turmoil. Danforth, who taught English, is a graduate of KCHS as well as the son of a former faculty member. Beattie taught health and fitness and coached soccer. Both teachers, according to sources, were well-liked by both students and parents, and some alumni have joined the chorus protesting their resignations.”
Students spoke to Q13 FOX about the protests planned for Tuesday.
The Seattle-area school released a statement on Friday claiming the teachers resigned voluntarily: “Two teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, have voluntarily resigned their positions at Kennedy Catholic High School. They are highly capable, gifted, and qualified teachers, who have served our community with dedication and humility. Their loss will be felt deeply by their students and the entire community. We are thankful to Paul and Michelle for their years of service.”
Said Danforth’s fiancé Sean Nyberg in a statement to Q13 FOX News: “This is not only personally painful, it also harms their former students who looked up to them, families that don’t know how to explain this to their children, young LGBT students who will feel even more shame and guilt and will weaken a community that seeks love and acceptance.”
Nyberg’s full statement below:
A fundraiser for the teachers has raised more than $30K. A Change.org petition calling for the Diocese to re-hire the teachers has more than 13,000 signatures.