BURIEN, Wash. — Some Kennedy Catholic High School parents called for the resignation of the school’s president and principal after they say two teachers were forced to resign due to their relationships with their same-sex partners.
The two teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, "voluntarily resigned" from the Catholic school in Burien after telling school officials about their recent engagements to their partners.
On Friday, parents sent a letter to the school and the Seattle Archdiocese demanding that President Mike Prato and Principal Nancy Bradish voluntarily resign from their positions.
In the letter, the parents claim the high school has been on the wrong side of too many issues and that “enough damage has been done.”
"It's our opinion that the current administration is unable to provide the leadership needed to come out of this stronger and better than we were before. We have documented a number of situations that were handled poorly and demonstrated a lack of leadership. And, many of these situations led to the emotional harm of the student body, which is unacceptable by any measure,” the letter reads in part.
Several parents protested outside Kennedy Catholic on Monday morning to "make sure that our voices continue to be heard.”
“I’m very disappointed with how everything with Paul and Michelle took place...so at this point a number of us have lost full confidence in the administration of Kennedy Catholic,” said Kevin McMahan, whose son is a senior at the high school.
McMahan said he had considered sending his son to another school, but Kennedy Catholic was where his son wanted to be for his final year of high school.
Parents plan on protesting in front of the school each morning until a resolution comes to be, according to McMahan.
Prato released a statement on Friday saying he wanted to shed some light on the situation.
"The two teachers proactively came to me in November to share their desire to marry their same-sex partners. We discussed this decision in the context of their covenant agreement, and they voluntarily resigned. I hired these teachers and I care about them very much. I still do. I wanted to make sure they felt supported, and so we discussed several options including the possibility of finishing out the school year...They indicated they wished to resign prior to the winter break in February. We worked with them to arrive at a mutually agreeable transition plan and financial package to assure they would be supported in their transition," the statement said in part.
Shannon McMinimee, of Cedar Law, is representing Danforth and Beattie and said the teachers were hoping to have a dialogue with the school. Instead, McMinimee said the superintendent of the Archdiocese school system wanted the teachers to leave.
"They were hoping to have a dialogue with the school about their desire to be their authentic selves and not hide that they were engaged and not hide who they were engaged to," explained McMinimee. "And that -- what they thought would be a conversation with their principal turned into being called into the president's office and being told that the superintendent of the Archdiocese school system wanted their keys the minute they found out they were gay and engaged."
Other parents said they plan to write letters to the school and Archdiocese with similar demands. No word on a response from the school or the Archdiocese.
Religious institutions like Kennedy Catholic High School are exempt from laws that prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.