Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Community rallies around former Catholic teacher
Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times
by David Thill

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Community members rallied June 24 to demand change at a local Catholic high school where a former teacher says he was fired after students outed and harassed him.

Amidst chanting and picketing, including signs with messages such as "Make Ignatius Jesuit Again," roughly 30 alumni, friends, community organizers and a former administrator gathered near Saint Ignatius College Prep to support Matt Tedeschi.

Tedeschi—who taught religion and French at the West Side school until March—believes his termination stemmed from issues that began last year, when a student found his online dating profile, which said that he is interested in men. He claims the student then revealed his sexual orientation to peers, and the students harassed him in the classroom and on social media. Tedeschi's story was first reported in May by DNAinfo.

According to Tedeschi, the administration did little more than issue a "slap on the wrist" to the students, who continued to harass him into this year. He continued teaching until this spring, when a separate incident occurred in his class. In that incident, a student shared sensitive information during a class discussion—which Tedeschi said he promptly reported to the administration—ultimately leading to Tedeschi's termination. But, he said at the rally, he later discovered that the administration had been considering terminating his employment since last year's incident.

Joined by Chris Pett, incoming national president of DignityUSA; Damian Richardson, a 2016 St. Ignatius alumnus; and Colin Collette, a former music director at Inverness-based Holy Family Parish, from which Collette was fired in 2014 when he announced his engagement to his same-sex partner, Tedeschi called for six changes to St. Ignatius' policies.

First of all, Tedeschi wants the school administration to change its nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Next, he wants the administration to allow the LGBT student organization to post flyers in the school and make online announcements, similar to other student organizations. As of now, he said, the group is not allowed to do either of those things.

His other demands include a "fair panel to decide cases of faculty dismissals"; an impartial ombudsman who is present at meetings involving employee discipline or termination; the ability for teachers to "have more say in drafting, implementing, and evaluating the school policies that affect them"; and the opportunity for St. Ignatius teachers to form a labor union.

Tedeschi said that, including himself, three St. Ignatius teachers were fired this semester, and one was fired last year. He called this group the "Disappeared"—teachers who have been fired by the administration for unclear reasons, under a "cloak of secrecy."

When he was fired, Tedeschi said, he was told he "showed poor judgment" in his handling of class discussion, and that he had "undermined authority." When he asked for an example of how he had undermined authority, though, the administration told him they didn't have to give examples, he said.

Tedeschi said this lack of transparency in disciplinary practices makes teachers "far more afraid" to do their jobs because they don't know what the administration will use against them to discipline them. He said the practices are bad for young Catholics because it makes them "not want to be part of the Church." And he said the practices are bad for parents and alumni, "who wonder what values the administration is instilling" in its students.

He added that St. Ignatius is failing to live up to its Jesuit mission of social justice. For example, the Day of Silence, organized by GLSEN each year to address anti-LGBT bullying in schools throughout the world, has become simply a general anti-bullying day at St. Ignatius, he said. The administration's failure to directly address anti-LGBT bullying through the Day of Silence silences the students that the day is meant to serve, he added.

[Addendum: After this piece ran in print, St. Ignatius Director of Development Ryan Bergin emailed Windy City Times, "We are able to say unequivocally that Mr. Tedeschi was not fired because of sexual orientation," adding, "At this time, Saint Ignatius does not have an official LGBT group however the school does run Project Unity, which is a group for students dedicated to expressing an open understanding of all people, regardless of identity."]

Richardson, the alumnus, said that St. Ignatius has changed from when he was a student, and that it must commit itself to its core mission values of students being "committed to doing justice" and "open to growth."

Calling the fight "a struggle for the soul of St. Ignatius," Tedeschi told attendees to contact the school administration and urge it to change its policies. ( The event program listed several administration members' contact information. )

Tedeschi ended by leading the group of protesters to the sidewalk in front of St. Ignatius, where they continued to chant as cars passed, several honking in support of the group.

St. Ignatius administrators "need to put forth a good faith effort [to show] that they're hearing us," Tedeschi told Windy City Times. Instead, he said, the administration is silent.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SAGE Condemns Erasure of Lesbian and Bi Women by HHS 2018-03-22 - [New York, NY] In what is becoming a trend, the Trump administration is once again trying to make LGBT people invisible. The administration ...

Gay News

Chicago March Among 800+ Globally Following the Douglas High School Shooting 2018-03-22 - CHICAGO—March 21, 2018— Students organizing the Chicago "March For Our Lies" event on March 24th today announced programming and media logistics information for ...

Gay News

Gun-control activists meet with Pfleger 2018-03-21 - A group of gun-control activists—including outspoken Parkland, Florida, survivor Emma Gonzalez, an out bisexual—met with Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger at Saint Sabina church, ...

Gay News

Nominations sought for 30 Under 30 Awards 2018-03-20 - Windy City Times is seeking to recognize 30 more outstanding LGBT individuals ( and allies ) for its annual 30 Under 30 Awards. ...

Gay News

Quigley Presses HUD Sec. Carson on LGBTQ Housing, Invites Him to Meet Chicago Advocates 2018-03-20 - WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley ( IL-05 ), who serves on the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development ( THUD ) Appropriations ...

Gay News

Cecile Richards, Tarana Burke, Dreamers to Receive Civil and Human Rights Community's Highest Honor 2018-03-20 - WASHINGTON — The past year has marked a pivotal point in America's civil rights history, with women's rights, racial justice, and immigration occupying ...

Gay News

'March for Our Lives' events March 24 2018-03-19 - On March 24, Chicago will be among the many cities taking part in the student-led "March for Our Lives" movement—a national day of ...

Gay News

Precious Minds project seeks to mentor youth 2018-03-14 - Precious Minds Mentoring Program is a program for young women, founded by a youth who has experienced her own struggles and who now ...

Gay News

Point Foundation hosts networking event at Salero 2018-03-12 - Approximately 80 people attended Point's 2018 Chicago Cornerstone Society Reception at Salero restaurant on March 8. Point board members Alexia Ward and ...

Gay News

9 to 12 Bowling hosts Youth Outlook 'fun-raiser' March 31 2018-03-08 - The 9 to 12 bowling league is hosting its 23rd annual fundraiser, "Bowl for Their Future," a fun-raiser for Youth Outlook Sat., March ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.