A counselor in a US high school claims she was asked to resign after her employers learned she was in a same-sex relationship.
Shelly Fitzgerald is currently on indefinite paid leave from Roncalli High School in Illinois.
In a statement, her employers at the state-funded Catholic school said that staff ‘must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church’.
The Roncalli High School Board of Directors and the Indianapolis Archdiocese held a meeting to discuss the issue. None of the attendees have made public statements on what was said at the meeting.
Fitzgerald has worked at the school for the past 15 years. She and her partner married in 2014. They have been together for 22 years, and have one child.
Outpouring of support
Current and former students and parents of the school have come forward to support Fitzgerald, says Fox 59.
Supporters laid messages, flowers and T-shirts with personal messages outside the school in a display of solidarity with the counselor.
Students, parents, and alumni have formed a show of support outside Roncalli High School for school counselor Shelly Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald says she may lose her job after school officials found out about her same sex marriage. pic.twitter.com/3iRKxcvjSB
— Nick McGill (@NickMcGillTV) 14 August 2018
‘I know that I had some difficulties when it comes to bullying at the school, and she was able to come to my side if I needed someone in my corner. She was able to come to my side and make me feel accepted,’ former student Dawn Maier said.
‘They have a big message of everybody being welcome, they say it at every mass. So it’s a little heartbreaking to hear, that somebody who never wavered from their message of ‘you’re welcome, you’re loved’ is going through all this right now,’ Maier added.
A legal expert has said that the school is within its rights to terminate Fitzgerald’s contract, the Indianapolis Star reported.