Fired Bishop Watterson Teacher Carla Hale Reaches Agreement With Diocese

Fired Bishop Watterson Teacher Carla Hale Reaches Agreement With Diocese (Image 1)

A Catholic high school teacher who said she was fired because she's gay has reached an agreement with the Diocese of Columbus.

Carla Hale said she was fired after 19 years, after an obituary for her mother listed the name of a woman as Hale's partner. Hale has been fighting to get her job back ever since.

Bishop Frederick Campbell said Hale was fired not because of sexual orientation but because she violated the church's moral teaching by having what he described as a “quasi-spousal relationship” with a woman.

Tens of thousands of alumni and others went public with their support for Hale, holding rallies and protests in hopes of swaying the church to reinstate the beloved teacher.

According to a joint news release issued Thursday afternoon, the Diocese of Columbus and Hale have concluded mediation and have mutually agreed to a resolution of their disagreements.  

Hale will not return to employment at Bishop Watterson High School, but will receive acknowledgement for her years of service to Bishop Watterson.  

Hale and the Diocese agreed that the terms of the settlement will be confidential.

Hale said she had taken her older brother's advice to include her partner's name while writing her mother's obituary about an hour after she had died.

A week later, the Bishop Watterson gym teacher and coach says she was called to the principal's office where she saw the anonymous letter a parent had sent to the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. The letter stated how appalled the parent was seeing a woman's name in the obituary next to Hale's.

According to Hale's attorney, a student at the school had asked her mother to pray for Hale because she had recently lost her mother. The student's mother then noticed the obituary, and wrote an anonymous letter to the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. Hale was later fired a week and a half later, on Holy Thursday, March 28.

Hale's attorney, Tom Tootle, said she will be educating
students as a substitute teacher throughout Franklin County.

He said she couldn't be happier about being back in the
classroom.

There was also a complaint filed by Hale and her attorney with
the Columbus Community Relations Commission. They had hoped that a city
ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor for employers to discriminate based on
sexual orientation would work against the church.

The settlement brings an end to that complaint.

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