Hundreds of parents gathered inside the gymnasium at Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish Thursday evening to ask questions about the firing of a gay vice principal.
The parent-only meeting was closed to the press.
According to parents who were in attendance, the school’s board of trustees stressed that Mark Zmuda, who was fired after marrying another man, will not get his job back despite protests from students and a petition with 20,000 signatures submitted to the Catholic Church on his behalf.
The school released a short statement following the meeting.
Tonight at a parent and faculty meeting, the Eastside Catholic Board of Trustees reaffirmed that the school will not be rehiring Mark Zmuda. The Board stated that Mr. Zmuda has acknowledged he was aware of Catholic doctrine and further knew he was not in full compliance with his employment agreement.
At tonight’s parent and faculty meeting, the Board reiterated that the school is focused on a positive path forward guided by its three touchstones of Academic Excellence, Relationships and Servant Leadership. Eastside Catholic will remain a Catholic school and will support the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The meeting came just a few days after the school’s president, Sister Mary Tracy, resigned amid backlash for her role in Zmuda’s termination.
“Sister Mary came to this decision after much prayer and reflection. For Sister Mary it was a difficult, but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is moving forward on a positive path,” the school wrote in a statement earlier this week.
At least one parent who attended Thursday’s meeting questioned the school’s ability to move on.
“I’m concerned about the search for a new head of school,” said the parent, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity because she believed her comments could negatively impact her children. “What person would take this job? If the criteria is that you have to deny a man a livelihood because he marries the person he loves, I would question anyone who would be willing to work in such an institution.”
The parent said that her children will not attend Eastside Catholic next year, and that she plans to take the $17,000 in annual tuition she pays per child elsewhere.
“They have to apply to other schools,” she said. “We have to figure some things out.”