On Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, Sean Nyberg, the fiancé of “resigned” gay Kennedy Catholic High School teacher Paul Danforth posted the following update to Facebook about the ongoing issues with the school:
A quick update. (I accidentally posted this when it was halfway done. Here is the entire thing)
First I wanted to point out that it’s been two weeks since Valentines Day. Why share that? Well, it was Valentines Day when we first started getting calls from reporters and emails from parents. News vans showed up at Michelle’s house and Paul hid with me in Issaquah at my parents house. They had taught their last class at Kennedy the day prior and the word was spreading that students and parents were hurt, confused, and wanted answers. Paul, myself, Michelle, her partner, and their lawyer were all texting each other frantically and trying to figure what to do. Michelle’s partner maintained her privacy, Paul and Michelle stayed quiet, and I (against all requests to remain silent) sent out a widely shared statement clarifying that the two no longer worked for KCHS specifically because of their same sex engagements.
Over the weekend the news grew both on social media and in the local press. Within days KING, KOMO, KIRO, Q13, Kiro radio, Seattle Times, and KUOW were all covering the story. National CBS morning news also ran a story. They sought a sit down interview with the two couples and we all declined, Michelle’s partner was maintaining her privacy, Paul and Michelle were continuing to stay completely silent, and I (for once) honored the request to not comment.
Tuesday came along and you guys threw the most amazing and impactful rally I have ever seen. The kids were heard, the parents were seen, and the community came together. I said a few words but kept the focus where it belonged, on the brave and inspiring students. During this time this group continued to grow and the love was growing exponentially.
Later in the week a few things changed behind the scenes, this allowed all parties to speak freely. The school and archdiocese sent letters full of misleading claims and they were responded to officially by Paul and Michelle’s lawyer, and less officially by me on social media. This led to continued outrage last weekend. Monday, a letter signed by Mike Prato and the school’s Principal was released. It took no accountability for what transpired the three months prior or the days after the announcement. One day later, Mike was out (albeit temporarily, for now.)
This roller coaster has brought up a ton of emotions for tens of thousands of people. Personal issues with the church, feelings regarding their own sexual identity, and many other issues that many feel the school hasn’t dealt with properly. It also has brought up a lot of opinions about people’s emotions or how they’ve expressed them. Which also brings a reaction to people’s opinions to their reactions, and so on. But this is good. It may not seem like it, but it’s a good sign. It means that passions are being evoked and strong emotions are being tapped into. It is obviously sad to see well intentioned emotions trigger a devolvement of decorum within a community with a shared goal, but it happens all the time and should not define or derail the movement.
Now, to the real reason I posted today. (Do you see why Paul and Michelle’s lawyer told me that her definition and my definition of “brief” are very different? Haha! Paul reminds me the power of brevity, but it’s just not my style. 🤷♂️)
The real reason I wanted to post was to say that Paul, Myself, Michelle, and her partner have been noticeably quiet recently, but that shouldn’t be interpreted as waning interest in these causes or a lack of gratitude for all you have done. In fact, the silence should be interpreted to mean that things are revving up and you will potentially hear from all of us soon. What will that look like? Its not clear right now, but I can promise you will hear from us, in some way, soon.
The focus in the group should be on the upcoming rally on March 7th along with any other continued action. I hope we can keep our eyes forward. I belong to a support-group community and they have a phrase that I think can apply to every group … principles before personalities. Let’s set aside personalities and stay focused on the mission: love, kindness, and community.
You are all doing together what none of us could do alone. Hopefully you will hear from us soon and my statement from the rally is still true to this day … Paul and Michelle love and miss you, and to keep up the work because the entire world is watching.