Notre Dame High cancels LGBT speaker

There is outrage after Notre Dame High School in Belmont canceled an annual guest speaker because he is an LGBT supporter.
May 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's outrage tonight from some graduates of Notre Dame High School in Belmont. The women are upset because a beloved, annual guest speaker was recently canceled.

Gregg Cassin has spoken at Notre Dame High School multiple times. So when the school canceled the latest talk, Cassin's supporters came to his defense worried that some who don't approve of his message could influence what the school stands for.

Cassin is an LGBT supporter and has been a guest speaker at Notre Dame High for 20 years, teaching the girls about compassion and acceptance, but the night before his scheduled presentation, he got a call.

"They said, 'The principal doesn't want you to come,'" said Cassin.

Cassin believes the school uninvited him because of what was written on the California Catholic Daily website.

"They started writing stories and talking about all these gay people in the different departments in these Catholic schools and saying we should not be there," said Cassin.

Head of School Maryann Osmond wouldn't provide a reason for the change, but tells me they plan to have Cassin back next semester. Through the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools says not enough students signed up for his talk. Cassin's supporters say that just isn't true because he was supposed to speak during an actual class.

"We have four classes that offer his subject and spoke to three out of the four," said Kara McGinty, a former student. McGinty graduated from Notre Dame High School. Her daughter now goes here. "We're very hopeful that he will reschedule and continue for the next 20 years talking to the girls."

Many alumni are rallying in support of Cassin and his message. They've even created a Facebook group dedicated to the cause.

"I am concerned with the amount of alum having issues with what's going on, including myself, that some of us may not bring our daughters here," said Amanda Phillips Carlson, a former student.

"We want them to apologize for this mishap and for excluding Gregg and anyone else from the LGBTQ community," said Alleicha Roman, a former student.

Notre Dame says the school is committed to tolerance and inclusion. The article in the California Catholic Daily encourages people to contact local Catholic elementary school principals because they could steer students away from schools like Notre Dame.


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