It’s time to change the outlook

The Detroit Free Press reports on the protest in support of Barbara Webb.

More than 100 people attended Sunday’s nearly two-hour rally.

“We value human diversity,” said Amanda Ruud McVety, 29, of Birmingham, a 2002 Marian graduate who helped organize the rally to coincide with morning masses at nearby St. Regis Catholic Church. “It’s time to show that — through actions and through words. It’s time we look at (homosexuals) as equals and not shame them for who they are.”

Another Marian alum, 2001 graduate Rachel Chapman Kopera, started the Facebook page, “I Stand With Barb Webb,” which had more than 3,300 members as of Sunday afternoon. A petition on also asks for Marian administration to support LGBT students and staff.

McVety said the firing of Webb goes against the social-justice teachings instilled in Marian students.

I wonder if the administration of the school is more liberal (and more feminist) than the local bishop, and felt it had to fire Webb to avoid surveillance and intrusion by the reactionary male hierarchy.

Amber Mazza Cunnings, a 2001 Marian graduate, said the movement is about bringing light to a social injustice she said the school teaches its students to confront.

“Marian teaches us about social justice in profound ways,” said Mazza Cunnings of Farmington Hills. “This is a human rights issue. There’s a mother and a child involved. (Standing up for them) is what we were taught to do.”

Brigid Johnson, 17, a senior at Marian, said the teacher’s absence was not explained to students. Teachers have told students they are forbidden to speak about it, she said.

How’s that working out for them?

Webb told the Free Press last week that her termination letter did not give a reason for her dismissal, but previous conversations with administrators pointed to a morality clause allowing firing over public conduct of “lifestyle or actions directly contradictory to the Catholic faith.”

She said she found out she was pregnant in June and told the administration in July. She said the school’s administration gave her the choice in August between resigning with health insurance benefits that would continue into the spring, as long as she did not discuss what happened or being fired.

She said she chose to be fired.

On Sunday morning, she said she was overwhelmed with the support she has received from the community, and is hopeful the students at Marian benefit from the situation.

“It’s not about me anymore,” she said. “Really, it never was. It’s time for the students at Marian to have an outlet. There’s no (Gay-Straight Alliance) club for students to express themselves. It’s time to change the outlook for the future.”

I’m Facebook friends with her now so I’ve been looking at her wall, and it’s full of really quite beautiful stuff – friends and relatives rallying round, little nephews and nieces around a table making posters for the protest, former students saying what a great teacher she was. A great bunch of people; the school will obviously be the loser here.



  1. says

    “lifestyle or actions directly contradictory to the Catholic faith.”

    I suppose the old “An angel came and told me I was going to bear a god-child” has already been used up, even though it aligns perfectly with catholic faith.

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