Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Alma Mater

My high school alma mater is currently going through a bit of a crisis.

A female teacher was fired after a parent read the teacher’s mother’s obituary.  In the obituary the teacher listed her female partner.   The anonymous parent wrote a complaint and the teacher was fired.

It has garnered much attention nationally.

The debate is heated.   Sides are taken.

I have read comments to the articles written.  And there are many for each article and video posted.   I get that every one has an opinion and I admire everyone who expresses their opinion with respect and couth.

I read one comment from a graduate who said they are ashamed to have ever attended this school.

I don’t agree with the firing.

But I’m not ashamed of the school I attended.

Why?

Because obviously, though the party responsible for the firing does not demonstrate it, the school is doing a fine job of teaching their students about love and compassion, and yes, acceptance.

The first I heard of the firing came as a posting from my niece with a petition to sign in support of the fired teacher.   I searched the news for what was going on.  And I found quite a bit of news.   And opinion.  On the very first day of the reporting.   I signed the petition and passed it on.

Though the school did the firing,  a large part of the school’s student body and graduated student bodies of past, are spear heading the support for the teacher.

There is no shame in that.

Much of the argument is that the teacher broke (I paraphrase) the contract she would have signed at the beginning of her employment.

I’m not writing about the politics of this.

I’m writing about the school and what it teaches, and what it taught when I was there.    It taught compassion.  It taught community service.  It taught the Catholic faith.  And I have heard in my parochial education more than once:   hate the sin not the sinner.

Whatever that sin may be.

But the interesting thing is, my alma mater is not a “building”.  It isn’t a book or a classroom.

My alma mater is made up of the students I went to school with.  And the teachers who taught me.  Teachers, some like this fired teacher, who were gay.   And those gay teachers?  We knew.   Not because they told us.  Not because they would ever have discussed their personal preferences with us.  But we knew.  And didn’t care.  And apparently neither did the administration.  Because the teachers we had, like this fired teacher, are the ones who taught us compassion, community service, the Catholic faith.

I find it interesting that her coworkers did not write that letter.   Her  nineteen years worth of students did not write that anonymous letter.  The administration did not write that letter or confront her with this.       And I find it hard to believe that not a one of them knew she was gay.

I suspect out of the thousands that are supporting the teacher, many are very faithful to their Catholic religion.  And though they may not agree with homosexuality, they know not to hate the person.  They were taught by their teachers to be compassionate, to be accepting and to love.  Like Jesus did.

I’m proud of the lessons my alma mater taught me and apparently the thousands and thousands of it’s other students.

Perhaps the Anonymous Parent, and those who fired the teacher, need to sit in some of the classes.  Taught by the teachers who taught compassion.  Acceptance.  Love.

You don’t have to approve of someone’s personal choices.

But you don’t have to discriminate against them either.

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