Woman Asked to Terminate Marriage in Order to Keep Her Job, Superintendent Not Pleased

Roncalli High School, a Catholic high school in Indianapolis recently made media attention after placing a long-standing an popular guidance counselor, Shelly Fitzgerald, on administrative leave. Her crime? Being married to a woman. 

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana's Superintendent of Instruction, was not pleased with Roncalli High School's decision, as the school enrolled 350 students through a voucher program, which is about $1.5 million in tax dollars. McCormick reasoning is that any school receiving public funds should not exclude anyone, Fox 59 reports. She says "I think the notion that you can’t send a child that takes taxpayers’ money to a school because they identify LGBT, that’s a little bit antiquated and it should not be accepted in this state." It makes sense. If any organization is receiving funding from the public, it stands to reason that they should not exclude anyone from attending and/or using their services.

Shelly Fitzgerald appeared on Ellen to share her story. On the popular program, Fitzgerald mentions that she has worked at Roncalli for fifteen years and also attended the school so she is familiar with the ins and outs of it. The principle and the president of the school emailed her and asked to meet with her, to which she responded with an email asking for details about the meeting and he said that someone had turned in her marriage certificate that was shown to the principle and then to the archbishop. 

While in the meeting, the principle handed Shelly a copy of her marriage certificate and asked who the other person is. Shelly answered honestly with "that's my wife, Victoria." This was apparently a big no no to the principle, president, and archbishop because they gave her three options:

  1. Divorce her wife
  2. Resign from her fifteen-year position
  3. Keep quiet about her marriage and what was happening and make sure that it doesn't get out into the media, which would allow her to keep her job for the rest of the year but her contract wouldn't be renewed for the next year.

Most of the school's staff knew that Fitzgerald was gay and had no problem with it.

A few days after the meeting, Shelly Fitzgerald was placed on paid administrative leave and banned from campus and a letter was sent out explaining that she was on administrative leave because she is married to a woman. They released knowledge of her marriage on social media and sent out a press release, effectively outing her as a lesbian. So much for trying to keep it quiet... Shelly met multiple times with the archbishop to discuss changes in the contract to be more inclusive of LGBT people, but he said that he won't ever make those changes

According to Fitzgerald, she has been married for four years but with her wife for twenty-two years and has a twelve-year-old daughter.

While Roncalli High School is rigid about its policies regarding LGBT people, it is refreshing to know that people such as McCormick are on Shelly's side on this issue. In my opinion, schools in general should not have exclusionary policies in place and when they're receiving taxpayer money, they should be open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Gay, straight, black, white. Education should be a universal experience.



h/t: Fox 59

A Dichotomous View of Sex Ed Sparks Tension Between LGBTQ Activists and Conservatives

For many middle and high school students, sex ed is an awkward and uncomfortable class as it discusses potentially taboo and personally offensive topics. And for LGBTQ students, sex ed is ultimately pointless. Speaking from personal experience, the sex ed classes I took were not at all helpful because what was discussed was mostly heterosexual, penis in vagina sex. While that does have practical use, it did nothing for me, a gay man. I frequently thought that high school sex ed should teach other things, such as sexualities other than heterosexual and how to be safe while performing non-PIV sexual acts.

Many people in Orange County, California shared my sentiments and passed the California Healthy Youth Act in 2016 which requires sex education courses to teach about the needs of LGBTQ students and HIV prevention, as well as teaching about gender and different sexualities. Accoridng to the CA Board of Education, the CHYA's goal is to educate students on prevention of HIV and other STDs as well as unwanted pregnancies, promote a healthy attitude toward growth, development, body image, and accepting different sexual orientations and gender identities, promote the notion that understanding one's sexual orientation is a normal part of life, and much more. Personally I think that this is a great idea, but a great deal of people are upset about it.

On Wednesday, there was a forum in the Orange County Department of Education building to discuss the California Healthy Youth Act while, according to the OC Register, protests broke out in the parking lot between two very opposing groups: one that included the members of the LGBT Center OC who are in support of the CHYA, and a sizable group of people who were chanting Christian hymns and urged the Board of Education to stop indoctrinating children and to cease teaching "perversion" in schools. The six panelists involved in the forum were all opposed to sex ed classes teaching about gender and non-hetero sexualities.

Within the building, hundreds of like-minded, abstinence-only people gathered to oppose to the existing sex-ed laws, held strong anti-LGBT views, with certain panelists being advocates of conversion therapy and anti-LGBT inclusion in sex ed classes. Because of the overwhelming anti-LGBT tone within the forum, the members of the LGBT Center OC decided to stand outside the building and listen in. By having an echo chamber within the meeting, there is a chance that the CHYA will be overturned and sex ed curricula will return to serving only heterosexual students. Advocates of the law say that it prevents discrimination of LGBTQ students by being inclusive.

I think that the CHYA is a much-needed act as it shows that not everyone fits so neatly into a mold, but specific people have a problem with inclusivity in schools. Perhaps we need to educate adults on accepting non-heterosexual sexualities and non-cisgender gender identities in order for people to be more inclusive and to stop calling LGBTQ people's natural feelings "perversions."

h/t: OC Register, CA Department of Education

Hillary Clinton Cut From History Lessons In Texas Public Schools

The Texas State Board of Education voted last week to remove former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, from the state’s history curriculum.

According to DallasNews.com, the move came as part of an effort to “streamline” educational materials for millions of students who attend public schools in the Lone Star state.

The vote came after considering recommendations from volunteer work groups who say the state requires students to learn about too many historical figures.

In addition to Clinton, other historical figures like Helen Keller didn’t make the cut.

Members of the volunteer work groups came up with a 20-point grading scale to determine which figures in history warrant being included. According to reports, Clinton scored a 5; Keller, a 7.

In removing Clinton from the mandatory curriculum, it was estimated teachers would save 30 minutes of instructional time.

Apparently, 30 minutes was too much time to spend on the first female presidential candidate of a major political party.

It’s worth noting that the state school board is made up of 15 members - 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

This is cause for concern on a couple of fronts.

First, clearly there will be no education on the contributions of LGBT pioneers like Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office), Edith Windsor (who sued the U.S. government for the right to have her marriage recognized) or Barbara Gittings (the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement).

So, LGBT kids in Texas won't learn of important contributions from people like them throughout history.

Second, due to the millions of students in Texas, the state orders millions of textbooks.

That makes the state incredibly influential on national publishers, and means the state school board is in a position to request hundreds of changes to textbooks to suit the state’s right-leaning requirements.

For instance, the New York Review of Books reports that in one instance, publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston was asked to make 400 revisions to a health textbook. Part of those changes included deleting toll-free numbers for gay and lesbian groups as well as teenage suicide prevention organizations.

See where this is going?

Once changes like these are made, schools across the country in other states may be buying them for their students without knowing how some of the decisions were made regarding what is or isn’t included.

And one more thing to consider: remember those “volunteer work groups” in Texas making the recommendations about curriculum?

The non-profit Texas Freedom Network took a look at just who made up those panels, chosen by the Texas Board of Education, in 2014.

It turned out that of the 140+ individuals appointed to the panels, only 3 were current faculty members at Texas universities or colleges.

The review showed that political activists and individuals without educational or teaching degrees were selected for the panels.

And those folks were deciding what did or did not go into the textbooks that would educate millions of children across the country.

So, yeah, what happens in Texas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Texas.

The final vote on curriculum recommendations takes place in November.

(h/t DallasNews.com)

Teens Who Choked Student Into "Apologizing" For Being Gay Only Get Slap On The Wrist

Two teens in the UK, who choked a student during a Tube ride in London until he “apologized” for being gay, have basically walked out of court with a slap on the wrist.

Will Mayrick, 20, says he feared for his life after two attackers grabbed him in a headlock, squeezing the breathe out of him, during an evening out with four of his friends.

The photography student today said the hideous ordeal might never have happened if the teenage perpetrators had undergone LGBT education classes at school.

Mayrick told the press that the Government needs to make LGBT studies a requirement. “It’s clear that there needs to be a better support network in schools,” he told the Evening Standard.

In the end, both attackers (aged 16 and 17) were given 12-month referral orders and each ordered to pay fines of about $27 for "victim surcharge" and $200 for "compensation."

After the sentencing, Mayrick withheld judgement of his assailants saying, “They were so young, and I can’t help but think that if they had had some sort LGBT education then the attack might never have happened.”

According to a recent study by Stonewall,  55% of secondary school teachers and 42% of primary school teachers say they don’t stand up to homophobic language every time they hear it.

Additionally, 86% of secondary school teachers and 45% of primary school teachers polled said students in their schools had experienced homophobic bullying.