A lesbian teacher has reported that a Catholic school withdrew an employment offer to her because of her sexual orientation.
On Facebook , Lauren White wrote that earlier this summer, she was offered and accepted a position to teach French at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Springfield, Illinois. But that same day, after signing a contract, the offer was withdrawn. White explained:
“I was told that I interviewed very well, and that I was their number one choice. The principal was ‘thrilled’ when I accepted the offer and knew ‘without a shadow of a doubt that *I was* perfect for the position.’ Then I went to sign the contract and pick up books for lesson planning. Just by way of general chit chat she asked me about my fiancée who I had briefly mentioned during my interview. She asked me where ‘he’ was from and I responded with she. I knew from the look on her face that this wasn’t going to end well. We said goodbye pleasantly enough and unsurprisingly I got a call not even 10 minutes later from the president of the high school. She asked me some very personal questions about my life and relationship and then told me she would need more time to consider this and that she was glad she found out before I started so they wouldn’t have to fire me for this later. A few hours later she called me and told me they could no longer offer me the job.”
White has shared this story now because she believes “students, parents, and community members should be made aware of this decision and how it impacts the education of SHG students.” She claimed that during the job interview, the principal had made the school appear to be inclusive, even mentioning support for transgender students. But White concluded in her Facebook post:
“Now I’m not sure what SHG decided about the educator tasked to teach their 146 students enrolled in French this year, but whoever it is definitely wasn’t their first choice. Mostly, I feel bad for the students. They are why I’m writing this. They deserve to know that the school where the mission statement declares itself as ‘welcoming a diverse population’ refuses to employ lgbt+ individuals even when it means those individuals would be the best choice for the classroom. SHG’s principal claims that students struggling with, or embracing their gender identities will be supported, but refuses to hire positive role models for those students and instead shows blatant bigotry in their hiring process.”
WLDS reported that Sacred Heart-Griffin High School has made no comment. The school is located in the Diocese of Springfield, which headed by the highly LGBTQ-negative Bishop Thomas Paprocki. He has previously tried to bar people in same-gender marriages from the life of the church and performed an exorcism when Illinois passed marriage equality.
Lauren White is the third LGBTQ employee to lose their job at a Catholic school in the last month or so. Bondings 2.0 has previously reported on an anonymous teacher in Wisconsin who had their contract withdrawn and the case of Matthew Luttringer who was allegedly fired as a Catholic school principal over his sexual orientation. Joshua Payne-Elliott was fired by Cathedral High School in Indianapolis earlier this summer because he was in a same-gender marriage, one of several employment disputes rocking that archdiocese. More than 80 church workers have gone public about losing their jobs in LGBTQ-related employment disputes in the last decade.
For Bondings 2.0’s full coverage of church employment issues, click here or click the “Employment Issues” category on the right-hand side of this page. For New Ways Ministry’s resources on church employment and LGBTQ issues here.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 28, 2019