Catholic school teacher tells parents she is being forced out because she is gay

SHORELINE, Wash. — A kindergarten teacher at St. Luke Catholic School is telling parents she was told her contract is not being renewed next year because she is gay.

Parents are crying foul and say they want her reinstated.

The teacher sent parents an email last week sharing this news. She did not say in the email why she was being let go. But apparently, she has told others in person that it is because of her sexual orientation. And that has started a firestorm of protest here.

“We don’t have a child in kindergarten,” said Whitney Hicks. But she says she is “appalled, appalled because there are gay children in this community who are afraid to say anything about it.”

That is the reaction that Hicks, a parent, has to the news that a beloved kindergarten teacher has been told her contract will not be renewed next year at Saint Luke Catholic School.

The teacher sent this email to parents. “Father Brad recently informed me that he will not be offering me a job at Saint Luke next year,” she wrote. “The news has been extremely difficult for me. I am a faithful practicing Catholic and I was ready to spend the next 30 years of my career at St. Luke. Signed, Miss Pala.”

The teacher does not say why her contract isn’t being renewed.

But this couple says she has described the meeting with Father Brad Hagelin to several others.

“That the priest said we are not renewing your contract because you are going on record as being gay,” said Hicks. “By marrying your partner, it is public record.”

She says she disagrees with the priest’s decision. “Yes, with all my heart and soul,” she said.

She and her husband say parents met Sunday to discuss next steps.

“There was a range of options was being discussed,” said Michael Spadea. “Everybody wanted to do something to show support for the teacher and the school.”

KIRO 7 received a statement from the Archiocese of Seattle.

“The reality is that we live in a tension,” said Archbishop Paul Etienne, in part. “After more than a year of study in 2020-2021, the covenant taskforce concluded that there is no clear, consensus for how to apply the covenant clause.”

The archbishop is referring to a task force that was formed to look into issues including those involving the gay community.

Parents tell KIRO 7; they are planning to fly rainbow flags and hand out stickers and pins to show their support for this teacher. KIRO 7 reached out to the teacher but hasn’t heard back.

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