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Kennedy Catholic High School's president will take a leave of absence until end of school year

Ashley Gross
Students from Kennedy Catholic High School and other local Catholic schools protested the forced resignations of two gay teachers last Friday.

The Archbishop of Seattle has asked the president of Kennedy Catholic High School to take a leave of absence until the end of the school year, in the wake of protests over the forced resignations of two gay teachers

The two teachers resigned under pressure after telling school administrators last fall that they're both engaged to same-sex partners. But that led to days of protests by families and students, who held signs outside the Archdiocese office that said "You can't pray the gay away" and "Closets are for clothes."

Now Archbishop Paul Etienne announced that Kennedy's president, Michael Prato, will take a leave of absence. And the Archbishop said he's forming a task force to examine "how we remain faithful to our mission in a dramatically changing world."

Attorney Shannon McMinimee represents the two teachers and said it's heartening to see that church leaders are listening to the public outcry.

"If that means that the diocese is truly looking at change, that's an amazing sign, and I think that addresses the requests that students, staff, alumni and the community have been asking of them," she said. "At the end of the day, that is what my clients wanted."

Students had urged that the teachers get their jobs back, but the statement from the Archbishop does not mention that possibility. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.