MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Catholic school teacher loses job because of her alleged sexual orientation

May 8, 2024, 7:09 AM | Updated: 8:10 am

catholic teacher...

Exterior of St. Luke's Catholic School in Shoreline (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

A group of parents at St. Luke’s Catholic School in Shoreline are preparing to fly rainbow flags Tuesday in protest of the school not renewing the contract of a “beloved” teacher.

The kindergarten teacher was informed via email that she will not be allowed to return to teach at St. Luke’s Catholic School next year. She claimed it was due to her sexual orientation, but plans to appeal the decision.

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“Father Brad (Hagelin) recently informed me that he will not be offering me a job at Saint Luke next year,” the teacher wrote in an email to her students’ parents and guardians. “The news has been extremely difficult for me. I am a faithful practicing Catholic and I was ready to spend the next 30 years of my career at St. Luke.”

When she emailed the parents regarding the school’s decision, she did not give a reason for her dismissal. But, according to KIRO 7, when describing her meeting with Father Brad to several others in person, she said it was because she is openly gay.

“The priest said, ‘We are not renewing your contract because you are going on record as being gay by marrying your partner. It is public record,'” Whitney Hicks, a parent of a student at St. Luke’s Catholic School, told KIRO 7, relaying the teacher’s message.

“And you disagree with that?” KIRO 7’s Briseida Holguin asked.

“Yes, with all my heart and soul,” Hicks answered.

In addition to flying rainbow flags, parents and other supporters of the dismissed teacher plan to hand out stickers and pins in support.

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“The reality is that we live in a tension,” Archbishop Paul Etienne said in a statement regarding the situation. “After more than a year of study in 2020-2021, the covenant taskforce concluded that there is no clear consensus for how to apply the covenant clause. (See final report here.) Some people may place a greater emphasis on our moral teachings, while others may place greater emphasis on our social teachings. Both applications are legitimate, and yet, each is incomplete. Therein lies the expression of our human experience – we are incomplete.

“Because there isn’t a single defined answer, we must dialog like Jesus did,” the statement continued. “This is why the application of our covenant clause is handled at the local level to allow for this dialog and discussion to provide a deeper understanding of our teachings and expectations.”

Contributing: KIRO 7

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Catholic school teacher loses job because of her alleged sexual orientation