Uproar over Catholic teachers’ resignations moves to the streets

BURIEN, Wash. — The uproar over the resignations of two Catholic school teachers moved to the streets Tuesday. Students and others descended on the Archdiocese of Seattle headquarters and Kennedy Catholic High in support of two respected teachers who resigned last week. Supporters say they resigned because of their sexual orientation.

This issue is now going beyond the Kennedy school community.

>> PHOTOS: Kennedy Catholic High School students rally in support of teachers

They are making ribbons. They are making signs. “A ribbon’s a nice little token,” said Jeb Binns, a Highline school district teacher, “to support our LGBTQ plus community.”

English teacher Paul Danforth and soccer coach Michelle Beattie were forced out their supporters said because both Beattie and Danforth recently got engaged to their same-sex partners.

"It's sad and it's disappointing," said Aaron Soenke-Ruona.

He and his wife, Leah, parents of a Kennedy Catholic senior and a younger child who identifies as non-binary, say the school's administrators have mishandled this.

"It would have been nice to maybe be given an option to voice our concerns," said Leah. "We just weren't given a voice."

"I would like to see some major changes in the administration at Kennedy," added Aaron.

"You can't be a teacher if you go against the core beliefs of your Catholic church," said Mark Miloscia, Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute and a practicing Catholic.

He insists the school and the church were within their rights to seek the teachers' resignations.

"That's what's called religious freedom in America," Miloscia, "is to practice and believe your faith the way you believe it."

Even though Kennedy students walked out of class Tuesday, KIRO 7 was told they won’t face punishment.

“Paul and Michelle resigned voluntarily,” Greg Magnoni, Archdiocese spokesman, said Tuesday in his first interview since the teachers left Kennedy. “Because this is a personnel action, unfortunately there is not anything more that we can share.”

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