Sandusky band director forced to resign - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Sandusky band director forced to resign

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Parents are speaking out after a Sandusky High School band director has been forced to resign. It's a sensitive issue, and parents we spoke to say they're upset.

St. Mary Band Director Brian Panetta was forced to resign after he announced he was engaged to his partner. Some parents wish he could stay.

"He did a lot for my kids in the music program down here . My youngest one doesn't want to go into the program because he's leaving," says one parent.

"We're just very sad he was really a great teacher and the kids really looked up to him," says parent Gayle Thompson.

In a letter to the school community, Panetta said he would miss his students. "As a proud and gay catholic, I understand the church's teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the catholic church does not yet support."

The catholic diocese says Panetta violated the moral and religious teachings of the catholic church.  In a statement issued by the diocese in part it reads: "In light of the church's clear teaching on sacred marriage and the fact that Mr. Panetta himself has publicly indicated his marriage plans are contrary to church teachings and are the issue at the heart of this matter. The leadership of Sandusky Central Catholic School properly determined that his employment could not continue."

Gay marriage is a hot topic in the catholic church. Pope Francis his urged Catholics to focus their attention on other issues. In an interview last year he said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

It appears some parents may feel the same way.

"Its hard. It's a small community school, close knit, so we just wish him the best and hope we can get though this. It's just difficult," says Thompson.

Mr. Panetta worked at the school for almost five years. We left a message for him, but he did not return our call.   

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