“He did a lot for my kids in the music program down here . My youngest one doesn’t want to go into the program because he’s leaving,” says one parent.
“We’re just very sad he was really a great teacher and the kids really looked up to him,” says parent Gayle Thompson, according to a report by 13abc.
Brian Panetta, who had been a music teacher and choir director at Sandusky Central Catholic School for four and a half years, was asked to resign by the school’s management because his engagement to his same-sex partner breached a ‘morality’ clause in his employment contract. According to an interview with Channel 3 / WKYC News, Panetta claims not to be in any way angry with the school’s management, and had expected such a turnout when his partner proposed to him. His only disappointment, he says, is that he did not get to say goodbye to his students or their parents.
“I have no closure. I didn’t get to see the kids. I didn’t get to speak with the kids,” says Panetta, who is himself a Catholic. “There are good teachers who are gay who are losing jobs, not because of poor performance. I think it’s a shame. I think good teachers should be able to teach anywhere they want to teach,” he added.
Part of Panetta’s contract of employment with Sandusky Central Catholic School included a ‘moral clause’, which stated that Panetta was expected to act in accordance with Catholic teachings. His engagement, according to the school, was equivalent to making a public statement that Panetta supports same-sex marriage.
Channel 3 attempted to contact the school as part of their television report, but the school’s management declined to go on camera, simply stating that Panetta is no longer employed at the school, and they do not discuss personnel situations with the media.
However, a statement issued by the diocese includes the following: “In light of the church’s clear teaching on sacred marriage and the fact that Mr. Panetta himself has publicly indicated his marriage plans are contrary to church teachings and are the issue at the heart of this matter. The leadership of Sandusky Central Catholic School properly determined that his employment could not continue.”
It is reported that Panetta plans to finish his Masters degree in Music Education later this year.