Gay Eastside Catholic drama coach announces engagement

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 9:53 AM

NORTH BEND -- For Stephanie Merrow, it was a compulsion inspired by her brave students and the ongoing controversy at one of her employers, Eastside Catholic High School.

Monday afternoon, she called KIRO-FM as they discussed the recent departure of Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who lost his job when his marriage to another man came to light, violating Catholic teachings.

In the call to the radio show, Merrow defiantly said she planned to go to school Tuesday wearing her engagement ring, the one she got from her girlfriend.

"Either I'll be fired or the students will say, 'right on,'" said Merrow in her North Bend home Monday night.

"It doesn't matter if I get fired, I want (students) to know that I think what they did was incredible and if anything changes, it's going to be because of this next generation," she continued.

Zmuda's departure spurned protests by students before winter break. Classes resumed Monday with little reported incidents. The population was told by administrators if they protested, they would be sent home.

Zmuda claims he was fired while school administrators insist he resigned. So far, he has not spoken publicly about his departure other than an interview conducted by a student several weeks ago.

Merrow, who does not know Zmuda, called his situation "hypocritical".

"They're not firing people who are straight that are doing things that aren't Catholic," she said, "They're just firing Mark."

Also Monday, the chair of Eastside Catholic High’s School board resigned.  School president Sister Mary Tracy said Gene Colin stepped down suddenly Monday afternoon, citing a need to take a break.

Sister Tracy says the decision is not connected to the recent departure of former vice principal Mark Zmuda, who lost his job after it became known he married a man.

Tracy said Colin was a “strong board chairman” who was very involved in Zmuda’s dismissal.

Former board Vice President and Interim Vice Principal Tom Lord said prior to Colin's departure that he had been under pressure for weeks, but declined to elaborate on what the pressure was regarding.

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