Speak Out: Student Rally

Dozens of students from the four Catholic high schools within the Archdiocese held a speak out at St. Mary’s Cathedral in support of teachers and staff. Speaker after speaker called on the Archbishop to embrace the values their Catholic education has provided: love, respect, and justice. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality” clauses that condemn homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and use of assisted reproductive technology. Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine, or deny these truths."

The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all employees of the four schools as “ministers,” a move intended to eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. At the event, students decorated a large banner emblazoned with the phrase #teachacceptance, a hashtag they are using to organize support for their teachers on social media. Students covered the banner with expressions of the values their Catholic education has taught, such as love, acceptance, and justice.

“We come to school to be in a safe place to learn, to ask questions, and to explore our faith,” said Annie Fatooh, a student at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory.  “Students, particularly any who may be LGBT or questioning their sexuality, need a safe space free of judgment and fear,” said Michelle Parmenter, a student at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. “Students from all four affected high schools – Marin Catholic in Kentfield, Archbishop Riordan and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, and Junipero Serra in San Mateo – asked that Archbishop Cordileone listen to the overwhelming outcry from his flock, and withdraw his proposals."