Chicago Comedian and self-proclaimed "okay lady" Tara DeFrancisco (iO, Second City, ComedySportz, television actor) attended Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio. And while she did not personally study under Carla Hale (the longtime teacher recently fired after local Catholic officials learned about her sexual orientation), she was stirred to act after hearing of Hale's unjust treatment.
In an open letter to her Alma Mater performed on video and posted online last week, DeFrancisco donned her school uniform and shared, with genuine warmth, her sincere gratitude for the excellent education and development of moral character that she received from the school.
As though taking us down (fond) memory lane, DeFrancisco mulled over the myriad no-longer-applicable school rules she'd broken or almost broken so far today. She continued, leading listeners through a sardonic list of laws from the Old and New Testament -- laws we all break every day -- ending on the realization that her school uniform (made of mixed fibers) was a violation. "Watterson! You old dog! You made me commit a sin and I didn't even know I was doing it! I just got punked!"
"The moral barometer that you instilled in me was less about the letter of the law, and more about the spirit of the law," DeFrancisco stated. Noting that the position taken by local Catholic officials and the Diocese of Columbus bore little resemblance to the concerns and beliefs of the students, alumni and larger Watterson school community, DeFrancisco implored officials to "stop bullying Watterson." Clearly frustrated, as many of us are, by the strange hypocrisy of Hale's dismissal, DeFrancisco expects more from the school that served her so well.
"The body of the church is the people. And you're not representing the people anymore. I feel more in line with a teacher that I barely knew than I do with my school. Carla Hale is my sister. And whatever you do unto the least of my sisters, you've done it unto me." Making a connection between the school's current actions and anti-integration policies in the 60s, Defrancisco quipped "Won't this be embarrassing in a lot of years?"
"I hope you do better. I hope we all learn. And I hope you love harder."