Gay Catholic School Teacher Outed By Students & Fired
A 31-year-old Chicago Catholic high school teacher was outed and fired after students found his online dating profile on OKCupid.
Matt Tedeschi, who taught religious studies at St. Ignatius College Prep in Little Italy, said students found out he was gay and "outed" him to the rest of the school — then went on to harass him about his sexual orientation in the classroom and on social media.
Tedeschi, who taught for about four years at the school, said he believes he was then fired because his sexual orientation conflicts with some Catholic teachings, and the incident — and ensuing gossip — embarrassed top leaders at the elite school. He was slated to be considered for tenure in the fall.
"In this place that prides itself on being a value-based school and teaches us to care for the vulnerable and marginalized, it's precisely the same religious basis that allows horrible harassment to take place," he said.
The school released this statement:
"Saint Ignatius College Prep must respect the confidentiality of the term of employment of its present and former faculty and staff members," school spokesman Ryan Bergin said in a statement. "Although I cannot comment on Mr. Tedeschi’s claims regarding his prior employment at Saint Ignatius College Prep, I can assure you that he was treated fairly at all times by the administration of the school, and we wish him all the best in his future career."
Tedeschi was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school. He also studied religion at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign prior to earning his master's degree in biblical studies from Yale Divinity School.
According to DNAinfo, Tedeschi's online dating profile did not list his name or that he was a teacher at the school. The profile says that Tedeschi is interested in men and features three photos, one of which is shirtless. It features no explicit content.
He also never discussed his sexual orientation in the classroom. Despite the site being for adults 18 and older, a student found Tedeschi's profile.
After discovering the dating profile, the St. Ignatius student texted screenshots of Tedeschi's profile to several other St. Ignatius students, and it spread across campus.
"He 'outed' me to a bunch of students. He knew that he was making fun of me and insulting me," Tedeschi said. "He wanted to embarrass me."
Discussing the profile in a group text message that Tedeschi obtained screenshots of, one student wrote: "Wow. This is SOOO juicy."
The student later threatened Tedeschi during a Twitter tirade.
In April 2016, one of Tedeschi's students went on a 16-tweet tirade about him, writing on Twitter: "Let's not forget I have screenshots that can end you." The student attached a photo from Tedeschi's dating profile.
Tedeschi said the student's tweet was "public blackmail" and "a threat" that declared Tedeschi could be fired because he is gay.
Tedeschi brought the student's tweets to the principal, and asked for him to be punished. The student received two Saturday detentions, Tedeschi said.
"It was a slap on the wrist," he said.
Tedeschi said administrators could have prevented "the culture of harassment."
"They were just watching it play out," he said. "I was having anxiety attacks before I went to class. It just completely undermined my authority as a teacher and made me feel small. ... This unnecessarily pitted me against my students, which never should have been the case."
Wow. Regarding his firing, Tedeschi shares:
Tedeschi said he believes he was really fired because he is gay and the school was embarrassed by the "outing" and subsequent fallout. He also believes the school administrators fired him "in retaliation" for complaining about the harassment he experienced at the school.
What's your reaction to Tedeschi's firing?
(H/T: Gay Star News)