Thomas Tootle, attorney for fired Bishop Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale, announced via press release Tuesday, June 11, that the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus had denied his client reinstatement.
Hale saw her 19-year career as a physical education instruction at the Clintonville high school come to an end after an anonymous letter from a parent revealed to Diocesan officials that the Powell resident is in a same-sex relationship.
The parent reportedly discovered this by reading the obituary for Hale’s mother.
In his announcement, Tootle quoted part of a June 6 letter sent to his client by Lucia McQuaide, superintendent of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
“ … I have decided to uphold the termination of your teaching contract,” the quotation read.
Watterson terminated Carla Hale on March 28 after her mother’s obituary identified her same-sex partner, the attorney wrote.
“I’ve attended graduation ceremonies for 19 years,” Hale was quoted as saying. “It was very difficult for me to be excluded this year.”
Hale filed both a grievance pursuant to her contract and a complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission. Her union declined to back her in seeking arbitration.
“The complaint, if found valid, could result in criminal prosecution for violating the anti-discrimination ordinance of the city of Columbus,” Tootle said. “Violation of this section is considered a first-degree misdemeanor subject to a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
“Seeking reinstatement from the superintendent is one more step in a process that we must exhaust before we can bring this matter to a meaningful resolution before a neutral arbitrator,” Tootle said in a statement.
The contract between the diocese and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators gives Hale two weeks to request binding arbitration, he added.