Kennedy Catholic High president on leave amid gay teacher controversy

BURIEN, Wash. -- The Kennedy Catholic High School President is taking a leave of absence until the end of the school year, the Seattle Archbishop said Tuesday.  The archdiocese says the decision was "out of care and concern" for school President Mike Prato.

The move comes after at least two school walkouts this month to protest the resignations of two gay teachers at the school.

School administrators say Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie voluntarily resigned, but some say they believe they were forced to quit because of their plans to marry their same-sex partners.

In a letter Tuesday to the Kennedy Catholic community, Archbishop Paul Etienne said he visited the high school last Friday to listen to the concerns of the teachers and staff.

"Hearing first-hand the hurt, frustration and confusion was both helpful and challenging," Etienne's letter reads, in part.

Read the full letter

He later writes, "It is abundantly clear to me that our Catholic schools are serving a much broader community than in the past," and says he will create a special task force to "look at how we apply universal church teaching locally."

Father Bryan Dolejsi, a former chaplain at Kennedy Catholic, has been appointed as interim president.