Shelly Fitzgerald faces an uncertain future

Shelly Fitzgerald, the guidance counselor of Roncalli High School who was placed on administrative leave by school authorities due to her same-sex marriage, bared all on the television program The Ellen DeGeneres Show on September 17. She discussed with DeGeneres thoughts which went through her head when school administrators gave her the ultimatum that the job she loved doing, and what she did for 15 years, could soon come to an end if she did not “dissolve” her marriage.

Fitzgerald married Victoria, her wife, in 2014 and they have a daughter aged 12 years. The couple knew each other for 22 years. She insisted the behavior of the school authorities was surprising as several of her colleagues were aware of her relationship. The same-sex marriage was a non-issue until a yet un-known individual sent to the school administrators a copy of the Fitzgerald-Victoria marriage certificate. She told the talk show host she took the decision to speak to the public only after school officials released a public statement concerning her employment status in August. According to Fitzgerald, the authorities announced she was on a paid administrative leave and was barred entry into campus. This turn of events, she told the interviewer, hurt her a lot. When Fitzgerald was asked what stage she is in, she answered that the situation continues to be "in limbo." The guidance counselor shared more bits from her personal life during the conversation.

Fitzgerald's employer, Roncalli High School, responded to her interview. The president of the educational institution, Dr. Joe Hollowell, and the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Gina Fleming, issued a joint statement on this matter. They emphatically denied Fitzgerald's assertion that she was "outed" by the school administrators. They pointed out that any news concerning this development was sent to the media by the guidance counselor herself. Her actions, they reiterated, led to substantial social media attention within a short amount of time.

The school further wrote that as with any other employee, the Roncalli school and Archdiocese of Indianapolis have kept professional standards intact when it came to the personal matters of Fitzgerald with due discretion. The school management prayed for all members of the school community including Fitzgerald and her family.

The TV interview ended with Ellen giving a pleasant surprise to the guidance counselor by bringing out a few students who supported her stand.

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