Shelly Fitzgerald has been working for 15 years in the Roncalli Catholic High School. Recently, school officials discovered that she was married to a woman and threatened her unless she decided to dissolve her marriage. (???)
In a Facebook post, Fitzgerald explains that officials gave her four options:
- either she resigns
- she dissolves her marriage
- she may be fired if she doesn't do it
- or her contract won't be renewed
"I think their hand was forced and I’m sorry that they’re in this position. They said that either I could resign, that I could dissolve my marriage," Fitzgerald wrote.
"I told them, you know, I’ve been quiet for 15 years [working at the school] so why is this different? I mean I’ve hidden everything from social media. I’ve hidden from people I love because I knew I was at risk for losing my job over this. . . I have no intention of resigning. I have no intention of being quiet. And I didn’t need the counsel that they were offering from priests. My goal, my intent is just to be a catalyst for change. That’s it. . .
"There’s a piece of me that is shameful for the message that I’ve taught my daughter in the last 15 years that this is OK to stay quiet to keep a job. But I will tell you the lesson she has seen in this now is one of incredible love.'"
Students, parents, and advocacy groups support Councilor Fitzgerald.
“We can’t bash Roncalli in this situation. Roncalli is not to be blamed for this decision. It’s the Archdiocese,” Junior Madison Aldrich said. “Unfortunately, Roncalli is taking the blame for it. And the name is being trashed and slandered. And that’s not what we want. Roncalli is a special place, and Fitzgerald is a special woman.”
Fitzgerald commented on all this support: "It’s completely overwhelming. Humbling. . . I have never been so proud of our students and faculty and staff and parents and people I don’t even know who’ve reached out to me because it’s important," she said.
"This is exactly what we’ve taught them to do. Use your voice for good and stay positive. Be kind to one another. And trust that God will put the right words in our mouth and at the end of the day, pray for both sides because I know this isn’t easy for the people at Roncalli or at the Archdiocese as well. Roncalli is a great, loving place. I only want to make Roncalli a better place, truly."
Since last year, there is an anti-discrimination law in employment based on sexual orientation in Indiana and there is also an anti-discrimination ordinance in Indianapolis, but Indianapolis Municipal Code protects schools, charitable or religious institutions run by or affiliated with a church.
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald is now considering her options with a lawyer.