Student walkout over fired teachers at Seattle school

student walkout kennedy catholic high school
Image: Jeff Upthegrove/Facebook

A student walkout at Kennedy Catholic  High School in Seattle today arose from the abrupt departure of two popular teachers. The school claims the ‘highly capable’ teachers ‘voluntarily resigned’. However, the fiancé of one of the teachers said the school ‘specifically’ no longer employed Paul Danforth because of their engagement.

However, both Sean Nyberg and Paul Danforth’s mother Mary refused to say whether the two teachers fired, quit voluntarily or resigned in response to a request from their employer.

Sean Nyberg proposed to Paul Danforth during a trip to Disneyland late last year. Nyberg said that school officials eventually learned of the engagement.

He said Michelle Beattie, the other former Kennedy teacher, is also engaged to her same-sex partner.

Both Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie so far refused to make any comment themselves as did their lawyer.

Kennedy Catholic High School morals clause

Schools affiliated with the local Archdiocese require teachers to sign a contract that includes a morals clause. It stipulates that the school can revoke the contract “if the teacher’s lifestyle is incompatible with Catholic moral values or if his/her conduct is at variance with Catholic teaching.”

Tuesday, former students, teachers, and parents protested outside Kennedy Catholic High School and at the local Archdiocese office. Today, the student walkout followed an earlier sit-in in support of the teachers.

Erika DuBois, the mother of a student at Kennedy Catholic High School, helped plan the walkout. She told the Seattle Times she knew about the morals contract but never expected the school to enforce it.

“Would it have been applied if a teacher were divorced and remarried? Or had children out of wedlock? I’m sad about the message this sends to LGBTQ students: ‘We love and accept you but we can’t employ you’.”


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