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Gay musical theatre teacher says she was sacked from Christian school for going to Pride

Nick Duffy October 22, 2019
Monica Toro Lisciandro was dismissed from Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay

Monica Toro Lisciandro was dismissed from Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay (Florida Today)

A gay musical theatre teacher has alleged that she was forced out of her job at a Christian school after administrators found out she attended a Pride event.

Monica Toro Lisciandro, a teacher at Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay, Florida, says she was called into a meeting unexpectedly on October 2 and quizzed about her private life.

The assistant principal informed Lisciandro that the school had been informed she is in a relationship with a woman and had attended Pride celebrations, which she confirmed.

The school then opted to terminate her part-time job teaching musical theatre.

Gay teacher says she ‘will not be silent’ after being sacked from Christian school.

Florida is one of 28 US states with no statewide laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, meaning Lisciandro has little recourse – but she has vowed not to be “silenced”.

The school says the gay teacher violated its morality policies
The school says the teacher violated its morality policies

Speaking to Florida Today, she said: “It’s been a very difficult situation, because my life has been dedicated to children and making them feel seen and heard and loved, no matter who they are.

“To think that something like this could happen to them makes me feel really upset and angry, because they deserve better. So I can’t be quiet about it. I can’t be silent about it.

“I want kids to see me and know that you can be a Christian and you can be gay. You can be gay, you can teach at a Christian school. You don’t have to feel shame about who you love, or who you are, or how you were born to be.”

School says teachers must ‘abstain from any sexual activities outside of one-man, one-woman marriage’.

In an email to parents, head of school Lorne Wenzel wrote: “I am sorry to say that for personal reasons, Mrs Lisciandro is not able to continue teaching our musical theatre class. We are aggressively pursuing another teacher to finish the class and (direct) our play, and I will keep you posted.”

The school said in a statement: “Covenant Christian School believes that every person is created by God and has inherent value and worth that cannot be minimised by any classification, status or life circumstances. We uphold and affirm this inherent worth of every person.

“Covenant Christian School also requires that all employees must agree to and model our position on human sexuality, which is based on the Biblical teaching that asks all Christ-followers to abstain from any sexual activities outside of a one-man, one-woman marriage.

“For our school, teachers are not simply people who may come and go each school year. Teachers are asked to believe, model and instruct students in all matters of the faith including its doctrines.

“We require that teachers strive to reflect in their own lives the biblical principles that they teach. The Christian life is not simply a passing of knowledge from one generation to another, it is about a life lived in community and unity to God’s standards as well.”

More: Christianity, Florida, school, teacher, workplace discrimination

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