Students at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington, staged both a sit-in and a walkout Tuesday after two beloved teachers were forced to resign for being gay.
Supporters of the teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, also protested outside the local Seattle Archdiocese offices.
The Seattle Times reports: People gathered at both protests said in interviews that they demand both the reinstatement of the teachers and a change in the church’s stance on same-sex relationships. Many, including Catholic-school graduate Grace Armstrong, pointed to what she called a contradiction between Jesus’s message of acceptance and love and the church’s policies. .. In the morning, protesters circled the block where Seattle’s Archdiocese office stands, pausing to chant (“Reinstate, not hate!” and “Separate, church and hate!”) and recite the Lord’s Prayer while holding hands. Shortly after 10 a.m., Kennedy Catholic students made signs and staged a sit-in that clogged some of the school’s hallways. At 1 p.m., they walked out, meeting a crowd of several hundred people waiting at the bottom of the school’s front steps. They spilled out onto the lawn and spoke into a microphone in front of a banner that read, “Who would Jesus fire? #LoveisLove.” Kids and adults peered out through the school’s open windows.
Among those who attended the protest outside the high school was Danforth’s fiancé, Sean Nyberg.
“I think the biggest fear about this whole situation is that the Archdiocese rides this out with no comment and no changes and no opportunity to listen to these students – maybe face-to-face – and then maybe it just kind of fades away and nothing happens,” Nyberg later told KOMO-TV.
“To watch those kids come out, it was like a freight train,” Nyberg said. “It was the most powerful thing I think I’ve ever seen. When all those students – hundreds of them came out. And to think ‘Wow, this is all the love for Paul and Michelle.’”
As of Thursday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $35,000 to help Danforth and Michelle Beattie cover expenses until they can find other jobs.
Watch KOMO-TV’s report below.