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***Post updated 11 Apr 15, see comment/reply following this post***
While I don’t usually broach local subject matters in this blog, a recent headline really caught my atttention. It involves a teacher named Mr. Matthew Eledge, an English teacher and speech coach at Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Apparently, Skutt Catholic High School has created a bit of local controversy by not renewing Mr. Eledge’s teaching contract for 2015. While school officials have not revealed why his contract is not being renewed, Mr. Eledge’s supporters allege he is being fired because he is in a gay relationship.
I strive very hard to fact check the subjects I write about. I read multiple sources to ensure a subject is first and foremost legitimate. I also read multiple sources, too include those I may not necessarily trust (shout out to Fox News!), to gain a better perspective of all sides of a subject. One of the challenges of addressing local subject matters is multiple sources and perspectives are severely limited. As a result, there is a greater potential for the matter to be a hoax or biased.
Based on the available limited resources at my disposal, it appears Mr. Eledge is one heck of a teacher. If what students and fellow colleagues are saying is correct, Mr. Eledge is well regarded and respected. Not only is he a teacher, he is a leader, who gives his all and makes a difference in his students’ lives. If this is the case, he is the teacher that every parent hopes their child learns from.
If Mr. Eledge is as upstanding as his students and colleagues claim, his being fired (naturally school officials are saying he hasn’t been fired, his contract is just not being renewed…long live political correctness!) will be a travesty. Skutt Catholic High School will not only lose a model teacher, they will lose a model human being.
I can only hope this subject isn’t a hoax. The fact that multiple local news agencies are carrying this story lends a fair amount of credibility to the matter at hand. In addition, a fellow colleague created an online petition supporting Mr. Eledge. In doing so, this colleague puts herself at odds with the institution that pays her salary. Most people wouldn’t take such a risk only to perpetuate a hoax.
Naturally, I have my thoughts on this matter. Assuming it is not a hoax and Mr. Eledge is indeed the upstanding teacher/leader supporters claim him to be, it is a damn shame that this man is being fired. If he is indeed being fired because he’s in a gay relationship, that makes his “contract non-renewal” even that much more despicable. I understand that Skutt Catholic High School is a religiously affiliated institution. As a result, they have the right to impose certain “expectations” that public institutions could not get away with. This includes “expectations” regarding same sex relationships.
However, the reality is this is 2015 AD, not 215 AD. The times have changed. The reality is one’s sexual orientation does not make the man or woman. The following is one of Skutt Catholic High School’s “Belief Statements”:
“Inspires Moral and Ethical Leadership by not only educating, but also requiring students to provide service to, embrace diversity within, and seek justice for their communities and the marginalized in our society.”
Skutt Catholic High School officials have a choice…they can practice what they preach and “inspire Moral and Ethical Leadership”, “embrace diversity within”, and “seek justice for their communities and the marginalized in our society” by renewing Mr. Eledge’s teaching contract. Or, they can continue to perpetuate the perception that religion is nothing more than an instrument of intolerance and hate. I hope for Mr. Eledge, his students and colleagues, as well as the community, Skutt Catholic High School makes the morally correct decision.