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Supporters of Fired Gay Teacher Turned Away at School Board Meeting

Protesters planned to host a silent protest at Wednesday’s St. Lucy’s Priory school board meeting, but were barred from entering the campus.

A few protesters gathered in front of St. Lucy's Priory in Glendora to protest against the firing of Ken Bencomo, a gay teacher who was let go from the school after photos of his same-sex marriage ceremony were published in a newspaper.
A few protesters gathered in front of St. Lucy's Priory in Glendora to protest against the firing of Ken Bencomo, a gay teacher who was let go from the school after photos of his same-sex marriage ceremony were published in a newspaper.

A handful of supporters of a fired gay St. Lucy’s Priory teacher arrived at the Glendora Catholic high school Wednesday to host a silent protest at the school board meeting, but were turned away by campus security who told them that the meeting was open to only “approved members of the St. Lucy’s community.”

The protesters came in support of former teacher Ken Bencomo, who was fired from the school after photos of his same-sex marriage ceremony were published in a newspaper. Bencomo had taught at St. Lucy’s for 17 years, and according to former students and parents, school administrators knew of Bencomo’s sexual orientation.

Robert Alaniz, St. Lucy’s media spokesman, said that school board meetings are open to individuals of the St. Lucy’s community, and according to school officials, that community is limited to parents of current students.

School officials have remained firm on their stance, asserting that Bencomo was not fired because of his sexual orientation.

“St. Lucy’s Priory High School is a Benedictine school for those who strive to develop personal and academic excellence. St. Lucy’s is a community of faith for those who wish to express, practice and adhere to values in education based on the Roman Catholic tradition,” school officials said in a statement released to the media. “While the school does not discriminate against teachers or other school employees based on their private lifestyle choices, public displays of behavior that are directly contrary to church teachings are inconsistent with these values. These values are incorporated into the contractual obligations of each of our instructors and other employees.”

Brittany Littleton, protest organizer and St. Lucy’s alumna, dismissed school officials’ response.

“St.Lucy’s hasn’t really budged. They really just want to skirt the issue and avoid it,” said Littleton. “I think that in many cases of injustice, that’s how things start.”

Littleton, who is currently studying acting in Los Angeles, said their online petition in support of Bencomo has swelled to more than 90,000 signatures.

St. Lucy’s Alumna Alicia Doktor said she and other supporters hope to continue to protest peacefully at St. Lucy’s.

“I feel that our concerns are very important for the future of St. Lucy’s because this a blight on their reputation,” said Doktor. “This is not going to go away and we’d like the board to look at it from the perspective that this could hamper enrollment and create a very unfortunate legacy for this institution.”

 

Jake Mooney September 12, 2013 at 03:41 AM
St. Lucy's, please don't back down. Your explanation of your reasons was right in line with real public opinion. There are, and should be, standards that each and all of us should respect. This is a religious organization, not a government organization.
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt September 12, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Well said Jake. The church acts as a moral compass and they have chosen the correct path. People pay excellent money to send their children to a private school. The children shouldnt even have a voice in this matter. Shame on the parents for even allowing their kids to protest.
Larry S September 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM
While I concede the school's right to maintain whatever standards they deem right as a non-public institution, I do think the kids protesting have a right as Americans to voice their opinions. It is one of the freedoms that keeps this country on course.
JC September 12, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Google Brittany Littleton and the first thing that pops up are images of her in lingerie photos. Miss Littleton, not everyone wants to lower their moral standards as you have. There are still people who believe in the teachings of the church, and personal modesty. Just as you have a right to protest and believe what you believe, others have the right to believe as they do.
wellmie September 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM
It's about time that we move beyond this issue. My suspicion is that Ken Bencomo has. The only "hanger on" is Brittany Littleton. Do you think she loves the publicity?
wellmie September 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM
And just a suggestion to Hazel Lodevico; it's probably time to return to some positive news and interesting articles about Glendora. You have provided Brittany with enough publicity. Enough is really enough.
Hazel Lodevico-To'o (Editor) September 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Hello wellmie, thank you for your comment. We do strive to offer a diversity of news stories and report them as they happen. We welcome any news tips and "suggestions."
wellmie September 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Thanks Hazel I have always been a huge fan of "The Patch". You and your Staff have always been fair and balanced. That is the only reason I felt the need to comment on this particular issue. The Patch referred to the number of protestors at the Board Meeting as" a few" or "a handful". Was it three or five? Either way, it's rather obvious that Brittany Littleton might be "working" the Patch a little to stay ever visible. At least charge her a publicity fee if she calls you again. Thanks for the great job that you do for the City of Glendora

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