School administrator ‘stunned’ after being suspended because she’s married to a woman

Shelly Fitzgerald. Facebook photo.

In Indianapolis, a guidance counselor for 15 years at Catholic school Roncalli High, Shelly Fitzgerald was suspended for being married to a woman.

Last week, Fitzgerald was asked to a meeting with school leaders who evaluated her marriage license and claimed her job was at risk.

“I was stunned,” said Ms. Fitzgerald in an interview with The New York Times. “They showed me they had a copy of my marriage certificate and let me know how it was going to play out.”

According to the article, Fitzgerald and her partner have been together for 21 years and while it wasn’t a secret, it wasn’t discussed at school.

“I did not announce it,” she said. "I never came out one time to a single student and parent.”

Fitzgerald met with Chuck Weisenbach, the principal, and Joseph D. Hollowell, the superintendent, in a conference room.

At the meeting, she was told that a parishioner at a local church had obtained a copy of her marriage certificate and given it to a priest, who had shared it with school leaders at Roncalli.

She was given four options of resolution, which included quitting, divorcing her wife, “keep(ing) quiet” until her contract ended or getting fired.

As a result of this event, legislatures in Indianapolis are pushing for a bill to protect LGBT+ employees from discrimination, according to CNN.

The New York Times and CNN tried to reach officials at the school and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis which supervises Roncalli and 67 other schools, but they declined comment.

Instead, they emailed a joint statement, calling Catholic school teachers, counselors and administrators “vital ministers” in the church’s mission, an expectation outlined in employment contracts.

“As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church,” it said.

As news spread of the action taken against Ms. Fitzgerald, groups of alumni and students protested on campus, posted supportive messages on social media and praised her to local news outlets.

Information provided by The New York Times and CNN. 

The Gayly. 8/16/2018 @ 2:09 p.m.