[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a statement taken from an Instagram post by Sean Nyberg, the fiancé of Kennedy Catholic High School teacher Paul Danforth, who was forced to “voluntarily resign” from the school on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 because of his sexual orientation:]
I have a few things to say regarding the recent news about my fiancé Paul Danforth.
Paul has asked me to keep any information that I have learned about this situation confidential, but I can’t stay silent. Two days ago he resigned from his teaching job at John F Kennedy Catholic High School, along with his co-worker. While Paul and the school have no comment on the situation, I sure do.
After teaching there for over five years, with a stellar record, he is no longer employed specifically because he and I got engaged.
We entered into an agreement to take our relationship to the next level and enjoy the emotional, spiritual, and legal benefits that marriage provides. Both religious institutions and democratic governments have placed a value on marriage for much of our history, touting the community and societal benefits that these relationships provide.
However, in our case, Paul no longer is employed because I had asked him to marry me and he said yes. Local and national news media have started reaching out and while I am aware that some will praise the decision to keep same-sex engaged and married couples out of Catholic High Schools, the majority of our community will be outraged. While the parties directly involved will not comment, I have no obligation or desire to stay silent.
This is not only personally painful, it also harms their former students who looked up to them, families that don’t know how to explain this to their children, young LGBT students who will feel even more shame and guilt, and will weaken a community that seeks love and acceptance.
I’ve had the joy of watching Paul go to work day after day to a job he loved. It should come as no surprise to any of his students to hear that he loved every single one of them. I want to end with this: Mr. Danforth and Ms. Beattie will be fine, they will find a wonderful school and continue to do what they were born to do.
But for those kids out there that might question their own identity or feel they don’t fit in, for any reason, do not let this news bring you down or make you feel less willing to be yourself. Some of the loudest voices might scare you, but there is a wonderful and loving community that will hold you in their arms and tell you that you are perfect just the way you are. One final note to the kids, you are the future of this community and from what I am seeing, the future looks bright.
Your love and support is appreciated so much. An entire community is watching.