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A PETITION calling for the reinstatement of Carla Hale to her teaching post at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus Ohio has attracted over 20,000 signatures, and we appeal to readers to add their voices to the petition.

The popular PE teacher, who worked at the school for 19 years, was promptly sacked after the school received an anonymous tipoff that she had included the name of her partner Julie in her mum's obituary last month.

This disgraceful act of discrimination angered students, who set up the petition calling for her reinstatement. It reads:

Discrimination is something that people have fought for generations. The most prominent form of discrimination in today's society is discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Carla Hale, a beloved teacher at Bishop Watterson High School, was fired by the Diocese of Columbus because of her sexuality.

Last month Ms. Hale’s mother passed away, and the local newspaper listed her female partner’s name in the obituary. Someone sent an anonymous letter to the diocese to complain. When Ms. Hale returned to work after burying her mother, she was terminated.

She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The diocese, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. It's unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control.

The diocese claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale. That is why we all have to stand up together and let it be known that this decision is unacceptable. If we do not fight this issue now, it will happen again, and that is not something we can allow.

When we allow injustice to go unnoticed and unpunished, we all are hurt. We have an obligation to Ms. Hale and ourselves to make sure the Diocese of Columbus hears us and decides to overturn its decision.

The petition was started by Watterson senior Jackson Garrity, who said:

My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue. We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.

Hale said here:

If it were not for an obituary that appeared in the paper, none of this would be happening… She asked me if I really wanted to put her name in there — in the obituary — but as we sat there that day — my mom really loved Julie and Julie  loved my my mom and as I sat there with my brother, you know, it was like… his wife was mentioned, my niece’s husband was mentioned, so why not? Why not my person I love?

“She’s a great lady,” a former colleague said of Hale. “She’s totally dedicated to her students.”

Neither Principal Marian Hutson nor diocese spokesman George Jones have responded to requests for comment. Hale still is listed on Watterson’s website as head of the school’s health and physical education department.

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