Sammamish, Wash. - A small group of students met with Eastside Catholic High's President Sister Mary Tracy on their first day back from Christmas break without their beloved vice principal. "It was kind of nice to hear her say this is really unfortunate, we wish this wouldn't happen this way but it did, in retrospect things maybe didn't go the way they should have, we are just going to have to move forward," said Ian Edwards.
Students have staged protests almost from the moment they learned that their popular vice principal was let go after he married a man last summer. The school insisted Mark Zmuda quit because he had violated his contract. But in a student video, Zmuda said he was let go because he is gay.
"They said, it was because I was married to a man and violated Catholic teaching," said Zmuda. No one was at his Issaquah home when we tried to talk to him today.
Edwards said that Tracy explained why she did not look the other way when Zmuda married a man. "She said she felt a moral obligation to report to the archdiocese as a leader of a Catholic school, which we understood," said Edwards. Tracy also wrote a letter to parents before they returned to school on Monday, letting them know if they protested they would be kicked off campus and parents would be called. School administrators did not return our calls or emails for comment.
The school's attorney, Mike Patterson, said that he understands the archdiocese supports the school's action on the issue. KIRO7 went to the Archdiocese of Seattle to talk to the archbishop, but a spokesperson said that he had no comment and that the diocese doesn't want to get in the middle of this.
Students are also demanding a response from the archdiocese. "We just want to know that they're taking action, and we are hoping to have the church speak up because we've been speaking to them and they've been staying quiet up until now," said student Alex Kovar. He added, "I think it's in the best interest of the church to listen to what these younger people have to say, cause the church is a family and we're a part of the family."
Edwards said that there aren't any other staged protests planned, but students do plan to wear orange on Wednesday in support of Zmuda. Eastside students are also asking students across the country to wear orange on Jan. 31 in an event they're calling "Z-Day."