Many Outraged Following Bishop Watterson PE Teacher's Dismissal - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Many Outraged Following Bishop Watterson PE Teacher's Dismissal

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

A teacher at Bishop Watterson High School in north Columbus was dismissed from her job as a physical education teacher, and her attorney and supporters believe it was because of her sexuality.  

Carla Hale taught at Bishop Watterson for 19 years.  Her attorney says she was fired on March 28, after an obituary printed in a local paper for her mother listed her with a partner named Julie.

The school is referring all questions regarding Hale's termination to the archdiocese of Columbus.

The diocese claims it's a personnel matter and refuses to comment.

"I can understand their opinion on homosexuality when it comes to that issue, but we're seeing a woman reprimanded for this but you don't see any reprimand when a teacher gets divorced which the Catholic Church is against. You don't see them asking in their private life use birth control or one of those heightened matters" says Mike Liggett, one of Hale's supporters. Liggett is a Watterson alumni who is now a student at The Ohio State University.

"She was a woman of great integrity I only had her for one year at Watterson but was involved with her in other activities, she had the most integrity of staff that worked there, she treated students justly and fairly," he said.

In the last few days, more than three thousand supporters of the teacher have signed a petition condemning the decision to fire her.

One of the postings is from Hale's own daughter, Courtney Hale. She writes: "She is an amazing mother, friend, teacher, and all around person."

There could also be a legal question on if Bishop Watterson is breaking the law.

The Catholic High School is located within the City of Columbus, which has an ordinance on the books making it illegal to deny someone employment based on, among many factors, sexual orientation.

The question for the courts will be if Bishop Watterson, being a religious institution, is exempt from the law.

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