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Catholic Schools Superintendent Upholds Hale's Firing

Columbus Catholic Diocese Superintendent Lucia McQuaide denied Carla Hale's request for reinstatement to her Bishop Watterson High School teaching job. McQuaide stated in a June 6 letter that she has "decided to uphold the termination of your teaching contract." In an email, Hale wrote, "I've attended graduation ceremonies for 19 years. It was very difficult for me to be excluded this year. Hale's attorney Thomas Tootle noted “seeking reinstatement from the Superintendent is one more step in a process that we must exhaust before we can bring this matter to a meaningful resolution before a neutral arbitrator.â€? Hale has two weeks to request arbitration. Tootle said it will be up to the selected arbitrator how long the process will take, as he or she could allow both sides time for discovery. But he said Hale hopes it can wrap up before the start of the new school year. “Carla Hale is someone who has not only lost her mother but has lost her career," Tootle said. "Anyone in this position would rather see this move quickly. Unfortunately when you’re dealing with a legal process of this nature it doesn’t move as rapidly as someone would hope.â€? WOSU left a request for comment from superintendent McQuaide, but her office noted she is not at work Tuesday. Meanwhile, Hale will continue to pursue her grievance filed with the Columbus Community Relations Commission. The outcome of this grievance will not come for some time. According to Tootle, the commission is not set to meet until September. That complaint is filed against Bishop Watterson principal Marian Hutson. If the commission validates Hale's complaint, Hutson could be charged with violating the city's anti-discrimination ordinance which is considered a first degree misdemeanor. Conviction can carry a jail sentence and a fine. The former physical education teacher was fired March 28 after the Diocese received an anonymous letter noting Hale's same-sex partner in her mother's obituary. Hale contends she was fired for being gay, but the Diocese said she was terminated for violating her contract by publicizing her "quasi-spousal" relationship. Hale is considering a civil lawsuit.