Over 350 Teachers urge Archbishop to drop proposed morality clauses from teacher handbook

A letter has been signed by about 350 teachers in high schools asking Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to drop proposed morality clauses from the teacher handbook. These high schools are administrated by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The organizers said that the letter has been signed by more than 70% of the faculty and staff at the affected schools. About 126 teachers and staff from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, 74 at Archbishop Riordan and 68 at Marin Catholic and 87 from Serra High School in San Mateo have signed the letter.

In the letter, the teachers said that they believe that the proposed handbook language is not safe for their community and also creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear. They also believe that schools must be places of inquiry and free exchange of ideas.

“This language in this judgmental context undermines the mission of Catholic education and the inclusive, diverse and welcoming community we prize at our schools”, said Sacred Heart Cathedral teacher Jim Jordan, who helped organize the campaign.

Last month, recommendations have been issued by Cordileone for a new teacher contract. Cordileone include morality clauses in a new handbook. The morality clauses involve language against homosexuality, abortion, same-sex marriage, contraceptives and artificial insemination.

To review the guidelines, a committee of theology teachers will be formed by the archbishop. Another controversial proposal has been removed. It has been informed that another proposal would select teachers as ministers.

About 12 teachers and students from the affected high schools were also present during the public comment period at the meeting. They all came to express their opposition to the morality clauses. It has been informed that only one was in support of the measure.