As class resumes at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash., parents and faculty received a letter from school officials promising to discipline those students who rally behind their former vice principal who was fired in December for marrying his same-sex partner.
Mark Zmuda was fired for violating the contract he signed with Eastside Catholic that promises he will uphold the rules of the Catholic church. Zmuda, 38, married his partner last summer.
The teacher clause is the norm at Catholic schools. Teachers in New Orleans Catholic school must ask permission from administrators before getting a divorce, fearing a breach in their contract. More often than not, they are kept on and allowed to renew their contact. It is unclear whether Zmuda was offered such an exception.
Zmuda’s wedding was outed when another member of the faculty was asking for floral arrangement suggestion for their own wedding. When Zmuda mentioned his wedding, his days were numbered.
On Dec. 18, students staged a walkout of class calling the firing unfair.
School officials wrote parents that if there are any more protests from students on Monday, they will be sent home.
The school said it will set up a workshop called “Effecting Change” for those students who take issue with the policies of the Catholic Church, but they cannot protest on campus.
Pope Francis this week called for the Church to embrace children of gay couples, saying “we must be careful not to administer a vaccine of faith to them.”
In 2013, he signalled a huge change in the Church when he said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Eastside spokesmas Mike Patterson said, "we're not changing our position," adding that he believes the private institution has a right to its own freedom of speech.
Parents will meet with administrators over the incident on Monday.