by: Deborah Horne Updated:
The head of Eastside Catholic has denied that a lesbian who came out on KIRO 7 had a contract to coach dance at the school. But Stephanie Merrow showed us the contract Eastside Catholic's controller sent to her last October, inviting her back to work. "And then she says, 'Hi, Stephanie, welcome back to another season of drama production and I am attaching the necessary forms for continued employment.'" In fact, she says she worked with Eastside's theater students for several weeks before the Christmas break. "We've already choreographed half of the dances," said Merrow. "So in your view you do have an active contract with Eastside Catholic right now?" a KIRO 7 reporter asked. "Yes."
Merrow's employment was corroborated by Eastside Catholic senior Alex Kovar. "I actually work with Stephanie every day," Kovar said. "I've known her since my sophomore year."
A furor has engulfed Eastside Catholic High School since the termination last month of its popular vice principal. Mark Zmuda says he was fired after he married a man. Since then Eastside Catholic students have led a half dozen protests.
"If they asked me who gave me the ring I was going to say my fiancée, Jenny." Now Merrow has stepped into the furor, too. She says she was concerned about working at a Catholic school until she saw Eastside's website, which says it does not discriminate against prospective employees because of "marital status or sexual orientation."
In light of what has happened to Zmuda, she now says: "Obviously that's not true."
Eastside's attorney told KIRO 7 he is meeting with school officials to decide their next step.