At the end of the school semester today, Mount St. Mary Academy lost another teacher as an outgrowth of the
forced resignation of English teacher Tippi McCullough after she married her long-time same-sex partner, Barbara Mariani.
Mariani tells me of the voluntary resignation of another teacher, a Mount graduate herself, because of the position in which she found herself. She, too, is a lesbian. She is a friend of McCullough and Mariani. She was present when they married in New Mexico. She was NOT my source for a transcript of the meeting in which a Catholic priest explained to faculty why McCullough couldn’t be allowed to work at the school.
But suspicion fell on this teacher, who wanted to leave quietly and who didn’t want to take her situation to the press in a public way, Mariani said. She has not violated the morals clause in her contract. She has married no one.
But she wrote a heart-rending letter on her resignation, which Mariani has seen and told me about.
She recounted her love of the school and its students. She wrote of her own discovery as a teen that she was gay and her struggle to adapt and fit in to a society not always welcoming to gay people. She credits the school with her happy development.
She’s proud today of who she is. But since McCullough’s firing, she wrote, she has been made to feel an outcast at a place she considered her home. People no longer look her in the eye. She said someone had made a false report that she’d left school during a prep period.
But, mostly, she said, she couldn’t reconcile what had happened to McCullough after years of tolerance of the open secret of her relationship. Mariani said the departed teacher added, “Sadly, I know that the same thing would happen to me without hesitation.” The message, she said, is that she is not “good enough” to teach Mount St. Mary students. It has, she said, become a place “she does not belong.” She hoped “people like me” could someday again teach there without fear of being fired.