Former Sandusky band director speaks out - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Former Sandusky band director speaks out

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A Sandusky band director forced to resign is speaking out tonight.

The Catholic Dioceses says 27-year-old Brian Panetta violated a moral clause in his contract after the openly gay teacher publicly announced he was marrying his partner.

He was forced to resign January 3. He says he really wanted to stay until the end of the school year.

"I hope that this will initially cause conversations to start change," says Panetta.

Panetta says he's accepted being forced to resign. "Its still an upsetting situation, but I would say now I'm more at peace with it," he says.  

The Catholic Diocese says Panetta violated a clause in his contract about the church's teachings. A statement issued by the diocese 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."

Panetta says he knew about the clause in his contract.    

"I expected there might be some issues we had to work through at that initial point in time," says Panetta. "I didn't necessarily agree that an engagement was in violation of anyone. It wasn't until I sat down with the dioceses five days later, that they explained it's a public statement that you support something that we don't, and that I couldn't wrap my head around. I didn't agree with it, but I understand it," says the former band director.

The 27-year-old hasn't landed a new job yet. He says he's working on finishing his last semester of his Master's at Bowling Green State University.

"We graduate in May, and my fiance and I are going to look at job opportunities in the Cleveland area, back where our families are from. His is from Chicago, mine is from Charlotte."

In the meantime Panetta says he misses teaching. He says he learned a lot from his students and he encourages them to continue with music.

"That they don't quit bad or choir jut because I'm not there anymore. I hope they can continue the work that they've done together  and do that for me and for themselves," he says.

Panetta says he's received a lot of support from people he doesn't even know.

http://www.brianpanetta.com/

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