Sean Nyberg proposed on bended knee to Paul Danforth at Disneyland in Nov., 2019.
Sean Nyberg, the finacé of now-former Kennedy Catholic High School teacher Paul Danforth, has responded to President Michael Prato’s statement about the recent resignations of Danforth and Michelle Beattie from the school.
As we’ve previously reported, the school said that both teachers ‘voluntarily resigned’ on Feb. 13, 2020 because they’re both engaged to marry same sex partners, which violates covenants they signed.
“As someone who has had a front row seat to this entire situation for the past three and a half months, I can tell you that the letter from the KCHS President Mike Prato is so divorced from reality, even the introductory sentence is a lie,” Nyberg said.
Here is Nyberg’s full statement, released Friday night, Feb. 21, 2020:
*HERE IS MY STATEMENT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FIANCE PAUL AND MY FRIEND MICHELLE. I’VE COMMENTED PREVIOUSLY, BUT PURPOSELY AVOIDED SPECIFICS. AFTER THE RECENT COMMENTS FROM THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION AND THE ARCHDIOCESE, I FELT THAT THE TRUTH NEEDED TO BE TOLD AND SOME UNCOMFORTABLE POLICIES NEEDED TO BE ADDRESSED.**
“The President of Kennedy Catholic High School released a letter today (read it here) regarding the situation with Paul and Michelle. While their lawyer, Shannon McMinimee, is handling the press inquiries and officially responding to the letter, I can’t sit silent. I’ll be brief (or as brief as I can be on an issue like this) and measured, for those who know me, that’s the closest to silent I get.
“As someone who has had a front row seat to this entire situation for the past three and a half months, I can tell you that the letter from the KCHS President Mike Prato is so divorced from reality, even the introductory sentence is a lie. He states ‘Out of respect for employees and their privacy, I have been and still am not able to comment fully on personnel issues’ … when in reality he has not been able to speak due to a confidentiality agreement that was mutually dissolved late yesterday, in part because of Prato’s prior missteps in communication. It says a lot when a statement can’t get through the first sentence without spinning the facts.
“Here is the truth:
- “Paul and Michelle were told numerous times to prepare to be terminated and turn in their keys from late November through December,
- “Due to a lack of communication from the administration the two spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks unsure what the status was of their jobs,
- “The two never wanted to leave the school and had no desire to resign,
- “It was made clear that regardless of what happened in the 2019-20 school year, even though they have stellar records and strong performance reviews, their annual contracts would not be renewed specifically because they were HONEST about their same sex engagements,
- “In mid-December the two were told they were likely being terminated at the start of Christmas break, which prompted Paul to begin packing up his room, and then that was retracted all in the same day (as they continued to teach and not let on to the students that anything was going on).”
“Weeks after an exciting and joyous marriage proposal, came this cloud of uncertainty due to administrative incompetence and discriminatory policies.
“I keep hearing people say ‘Well, they signed a contract with a clause the requires them to follow church teachings, they knew what they were getting into.’
“First, both Paul and Michelle attended Catholic schools as students (Paul actually went to KCHS), they grew up in this community, it’s in their blood, and they love the students and faculty. So, it would be weird for them to not want to work for these schools. It is what they know.
“Second, and most important, if a clause is not enforced equally for all violations of Catholic teachings, then it’s simply a shield to justify discrimination. The Catholic teachings are (proudly) strict and I ask, are employees terminated who have been divorced and remarried without annulment? Are teachers who use birth control (including condoms) told their contracts will not be renewed? How about employees who don’t attend mass regularly and haven’t done confession in years? What if a teacher actively participates in a same-sex wedding ceremony? Is being married in a civil ceremony to someone of the same sex even against church teachings which focus on vows sanctified by a priest?
“Today, the Archbishop addressed the KCHS faculty. We have been told that he compared what happened to Paul and Michelle has being akin to the NCAA, stating that if a player violates the rulebook, they can longer play and it hurts the whole team. This left many (including me) asking … what if 90% of people who violate the rules are allowed to continue to play and only 10% that violate the rules are removed. Then really … the rulebook isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
“In conclusion … in my opinion (based on my observations) Prato’s letter is self-serving, dishonest, and void of facts. It takes 3 1/2 months of daily uncertainty due to a lack of administrative cohesion, numerous threats of termination, and the loss of a job for two teachers who had hoped to one day retire at KCHS, and boils that down to ‘they voluntarily resigned.’ (Side note, lets stop with ‘voluntarily’ resigned. It’s redundant. Voluntariness is required by the definition of the word resigned. It’s poor writing, a grammar lesson he could have learned from being in Paul’s class).
“The clause that proponents for the Archdioceses points to as justification for not hiring, not renewing, and terminating LGBT employees is simply a shield for discrimination if not evenly enforced for ALL violations of Catholic teachings.
“Finally, while we battle over semantics, please remember … this all started with engagements. An act of love and a promise to bond together and share a life together. This has been drawn out for months and led to many sleepless nights and anxious morning commutes, unaware if they will be terminated that day. It has blindsided an entire student body. Hundreds of family members have been misled by school and church officials in prepared statements that appear to be written with the intent to deceive and not inform.
“All of this because two beloved, talented, and loyal teachers were in love and honest. Two traits one would hope would be valued not punished.”