Friday, December 20, 2013 will mark assistant principal Mark Zmuda’s final day at Eastside Catholic High School after he was reportedly forced to resign from his position after marrying his same-sex partner.
Students at the school did not take kindly to being informed that the Archdiocese of Seattle had made the decision to fire their assistant principal, and have begun protesting in efforts to garner reconsideration from the school.
Approximately three hundred students at Eastside Catholic High School, where the thirteen-year veteran instructor and administrator also served as the coach of the swim team, have staged protests following the news about Zmuda. What started out as a simple cafeteria sit-in transformed into an outright rebellion, with many kids getting up and leaving during class; others refused to even enter their classrooms.
“Keep Mr. Z,” hundreds of students chanted outside the front of the school, which reportedly caused tearful sentiment among the assistant principal and some of his fellow colleagues.
Even other Catholic school students have organized public support for Zmuda, with KING 5 journalist Alison Morrow taking to Twitter to note that “Holy Names Students stand w/ Eastside, whose vice principal had to resign after marrying a man…” Attached to the tweet was a photo of Holy Names students holding up a banner in protest against Zmuda’s forced resignation.
Earlier in the year, in July, Zmuda had a formal, blue-and-gray-themed wedding with his partner Dana Jergins. Family and friends flew in from all across the nation to attend the ceremony; photos of the subtle, yet luxe Newcastle Golf Club wedding surfaced online at the professional site of Reverend Janice Carter—an “ordained, non-denominational Wedding Celebrant and Officiant”—on July 7, but seem to have been removed by the site owner as of Friday morning.
Eastside officials told press earlier that they had no knowledge of the wedding until recently, as Zmuda was apparently confronted about his sexual orientation and the summer marriage just this month.
According to News Times, Mike Patterson (the school’s attorney and spokesperson) revealed that Zmuda had breached a contract that promised his abidance to the rules and teachings of the Church; same-sex marriage violates that agreement.
However, Patterson told press that Zmuda was a great instructor and that the school would be willing to provide a good reference.