A music teacher says she was fired from a private Catholic high school in Vancouver for being a lesbian and a new mom.
Lisa Reimer was told on Monday that she was being let go early from her one-year contract position at Little Flower Academy, which receives public funding.
“I feel like I’ve been fired with a payout … to keep me quiet,” she said yesterday. “All of the families have been told I am on a personal leave, which I am not.”
The school knew she was a lesbian and that her partner was expecting a baby, Reimer said.
“I was completely shocked … because of their reaction when I told them in December we were having a family. They seemed so supportive I thought they would go to bat for me.”
The principal and vice-principal claimed they were supportive, Reimer said, but they allegedly fired Reimer because some parents complained that a lesbian teacher would lead their girls to “follow (her) lead.”
Ken Coolen of the Pride Education Network said he wonders why other teachers in the board who have children out of wedlock have not been fired.
“It is my understanding (in the Catholic religion) the sin is not to be gay … the sin is to do something about it,” said Coolen.
Glen Hansman, a vice-president with the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association, said this is a clear example of why private schools should not receive public funding.
“This kind of discrimination and homophobia could never happen in a public school,” he said in a release.
James Chamberlain of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation added that if private and independent schools want to continue accepting public money, they should operate under the same standards that public schools do.
“They cannot be discriminating against people like Lisa on the basis of family status or sexual orientation,” he said.
The class Reimer was teaching has been cancelled for the rest of the year.
B.C. Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid told The Canadian Press that the allegations are concerning and she’s asked her staff to investigate.
The school has not commented on the allegations.