In a perfect world, discrimination wouldn’t be a thing. We’d all get together to bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.

Sadly this is planet earth and discrimination is very much alive and kicking. But for students in one US high school, it’s not going unchallenged.

Children at Kennedy Catholic High staged a series of protests, including a mass walkout, after two of their beloved teachers were fired, allegedly because they were gay.

Alongside some (legendary) parents, the kids first conducted a sit in, blocking school hallways and then took their protest to the lawns of the school.

Someone also hoisted a gay pride flag up the flagpole (although it was swiftly removed).

Their action came after two members of staff supposedly voluntarily resigned – but there’s allegations they were forced out after both becoming engaged to their partners.

In a statement released on Valentine’s Day (ouch) Kennedy High announced that English teacher Paul Danforth and sports coach Michelle Beattie had both vacated their positions.

Danforth and Beattie were both in same-gender relationships and were celebrating recent engagements to their partners.

Danforth’s fiance, Sean Nyberg disputed the school’s version of events on social media.

In an Instagram post, he wrote that “[Paul] is no longer employed specifically because he and I got engaged”.

This is not only personally painful, it also harms their former students who looked up to them, families that don’t know how to explain this to their children, young LGBT students who will feel even more shame and guilt, and will weaken a community that seeks love and acceptance.

Local and national news media have started reaching out and while I am aware that some will praise the decision to keep same-sex engaged and married couples out of Catholic High Schools, the majority of our community will be outraged. While the parties directly involved will not comment, I have no obligation or desire to stay silent. 

Beattie or Danforth have yet to comment directly on the situation but the archdiocese – which is the authority in charge of Kennedy High – requires employees to “live a lifestyle compatible with Catholic teaching”.

Unfortunately, Catholic teaching still doesn’t recognise homosexual marriage, which sucks.

So in the meantime, the kids are making their displeasure known.

The student protests haven’t got their teachers their jobs back (would they even want them after that treatment?) but they have attracted the spotlight of national media and made a pretty big statement.

Nyberg certainly was moved, telling West Seattle Blog that the demonstration was: ‘more brave than anything I’ve seen any adults do.’ ‘The drive and the willingness to maybe get in trouble is pretty inspiring. And that the rest of the world is watching”.

We certainly are.

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