Teacher Fired For Being Gay Fights to Get Job Back


UPDATED: Tuesday April 23, 2013 11:36 PM

A teacher fired for being gay learned Tuesday night whether she'll be allowed back in the classroom.

Carla Hale filed a grievance requesting to be reinstated at Bishop Watterson High School.

Tuesday night Hale met with school officials to hear their answer, 10tv's Glenn McEntyre reported.

Neither Hale nor the Diocese would comment about the outcome of that meeting.

Hale and her attorney say they will discuss what happened, and what's next, at a Wednesday morning press conference.

Hale, a lesbian, told 10tv last week that her sexuality has never been brought into the classroom, and in her 19 years of employment at the school, was never an issue.

It was her mother's obituary that prompted an anonymous letter to her superiors.

"It was a parent who was appalled that in my mom's obituary, beside my name, I had a female in parentheses," says Hale. "Female partner."

Two weeks after her mother's death, Hale says she was called into a meeting with her principal.

"They wanted an explanation. A response," she says. "I just looked at them and said, 'I don't really have a response. That's my mom's obituary."

Two weeks later, she was fired, her termination letter stating her relationship "violates the moral laws" of the Catholic Church.

"You know, this is a tragedy from her perspective," says Tom Tootle, Hale's attorney. "She's not only lost her mother, she's lost her 19 year career. But thank goodness for the goodwill of people just stepping up to support her."

Tootle is referring to an online petition with nearly 46,000 signatures asking Bishop Watterson to reinstate her. 

And while she draws strength from the support of so many, there's just one thing she wants. "Her job," says Tootle. "That's really it in a nutshell. She wants her job back. She doesn't want money. She doesn't want public notoriety. She wants her job back."

Though Hale's attorney isn't saying what happened Tuesday night, he says there are two other routes that could be pursued on her behalf.

The City of Columbus has an ordinance outlawing termination based on sexual orientation.

Anyone found guilty of violating the ordinance could face a fine and possible jail time.

Tootle says there's also the possibility of a lawsuit against the Diocese.

The Columbus Diocese has refused any comment, calling personnel matters "confidential".

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