INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Roncalli High School guidance counselor who was placed on administrative leave because of her same-sex marriage shared her story on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday.
During her interview, Shelly Fitzgerald told the talk show host that the principal of the school became aware that she was married to a woman when someone sent in her marriage certificate. She was then called in to meet with him and the school’s president.
Fitzgerald said school officials gave her a few options:
- Dissolve her marriage
- Keep her job for the rest of the year, if everything stayed quiet
- She could be terminated if things became too “boisterous” in the media
Fitzgerald went on to say that administrative officials were the ones who “outed her” by sending out a press release announcing the fact that she had been placed on leave and banned from campus. However, she did say that much of the staff knew she was gay, but students did not.
When asked where things stood now, Fitzgerald said the situation remains “in limbo.”
Fitzgerald also shared more about her personal life, including the fact that she’s been with her wife for the past 22 years and they have a 12-year-old daughter.
Towards the end of the interview, Ellen surprised Fitzgerald by bringing out some of the students that have supported her during this process. The host ended their sit-down by announcing that Shutterfly would be donating $25,000 to a GoFundMe account created in her honor. Fitzgerald says the students are going to use the money to be a “catalyst for change.”
Dr. Joe Hollowell, President of Roncalli High School, and Gina Fleming, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, issued the following joint statement in response to Fitzgerald’s appearance on the show:
We have been asked to provide a response to Ms. Shelly Fitzgerald’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The assertion that Roncalli High School administrators “outed” Ms. Fitzgerald is inaccurate. Any statements to media or the public from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis or Roncalli High School came only in response to Ms. Fitzgerald’s decision to email others details of her initial meeting with school leaders, which resulted in widespread social media attention within twenty-four hours.
As we would with any of our employees, Roncalli and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis have maintained professionalism in keeping the details of Ms. Fitzgerald’s personnel matters private. For 50 years, Roncalli has been rooted in prayer and faith and as such we have been praying for all in our school community, including Shelly Fitzgerald and her family.