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No Support From Union; Fired Teacher Presses Forward
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The union that represents a Catholic School teacher fired after disclosing she is gay is refusing to back her. Carla Hale is trying to regain her Watterson High School physical ed teaching job. But the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators will stay out of the fight .
Carla Hale had taught 19 years at Watterson and received nothing by good reviews from her students, parents and fellow teachers. But the Catholic Teachers union says it will not support Hale’s reinstatement.
“I think it’s obviously shocking to me. But, at this point in time I think we’ve got to move forward.” Says Hale.
Hale contends she was fired last March because she is gay. But the Columbus Catholic Diocese said she was fired because Hale publicized what it calls a “quasi-spousal” relationship with her same-sex partner in her mother’s obituary.
She is appealing the firing to the Watterson superintendent.
Hale’s attorney, Thomas Tootle says the rejection by the teachers union means Hale will not get any financial backing while appealing her case to the Watterson superintendent.
“The main significance of this decision from the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators is that they will not place their financial backing behind Carla Hale’s cause.” Says Tootle.
Hale has set up a website to collect donations.
The union did not comment. But union president Kathleen Mahoney wrote to Hale that the decision; “should not be interpreted as reflecting unfavorably upon Hale as a person or as an educator.”
Hale has filed a separate complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Department alleging Watterson High School violated a city ordinance banning discrimination.
Attorney Tootle also says a civil suit is still possible but not until all available appeals within the diocese are exhausted. Tootle says that could take up to two years.
“There always remains the possibility for the superintendent to take the grievance process seriously and to reinstate Carla Hale. There’s no rush. We have two years to file it. I don’t certainly anticipate that we would wait that. It’s certainly our hope that it won’t be necessary.” Says Tootle.
Hale’s firing has attracted national attention.