Nigel Campbell's picture

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. 

DNAinfo reports:

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)

Comments

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Yes, the school really cares for Mr. T (I pity the fool :) ). "We love you but get out". 

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Oh, to be so young and so privileged that you actually think it's okay to threaten another human being with the destruction of their livelihood. Good work, Catholic Church! Gotta love those "model citizens" you're pumping out there into the world. Hopefully the young student who made this threat is well on his/her way to becoming a U.S. Congressperson whose career will implode when it's discovered that they've been having an illicit affair with a number of barnyard animals, after which suicide will seem like the only plausible way out. In all seriousness, the student should be brought up on charges of blackmail. Minor or not, s/he CLEARLY understood what s/he was doing, writing and implying. These are NOT the kind of youth we need running our country when they grow up.

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The teacher needs to contact a lawyer and begin a defamation suit against the minor student's family.

Sadly, there may well be a clause in the terms of his employment that refers specifically to the school discriminating against non heterosexual employees. If so, and if he signed such a contract, he might not have a case for wrongful dismissal. Such discriminatory "rules" are rampant in the independent school system. I would suggest however, that this teacher appeal to a higher power- he may actually find an ally in the Vatican who is making a glacial overture toward the church being more accepting. Pope Francis was quoted as saying, " When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual." (I know, I know 2000 years too late and baby steps- but hey, it's a start). . This school's  administration may well have been acting on its own and not because of a Catholic schools policy.

Trinity Western University in Langley, BC Canada has what they call a "covenant" that all students and faculty must sign. It is basically a condemnation not only of anything other than a heterosexual orientation- but also condemns sexual relations of any kind before marriage. Okay- if people want to buy into that kind of medieval doctrine of hate and exclusion- whatever- BUT the school receives funding from the provincial government. Yep, my taxes are funding that kind of doctrine. Yes, they have been taken to court, lost and then won on appeal. Ugh.

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He should not be outed because he is gay. His sexuality has doesn't to do with his job as a an educator. To think gay educators are very good in education and he has the right for privacy.

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Both the Catholic church and this school in particular should be ashamed of the way they treat gay men. This would never have happened to a straight man. Yep, the student in question looks  he was engaging in blackmail but then again the anti-gay "teachings" of the Catholic church can be a sad influence on children. Does the Catholic church actually think it knows more than nature does about human sexuality? Anti-gay discrimination is a cancer in the Catholic religion and it has to stop.

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