Apologize to Transgender Teacher for Workplace Discrimination

Target: Principal Leonard Conway, St. Francis Preparatory School

Goal: Demand apology for wrongful termination and discrimination against transgender teacher.

Mark Krolikowski taught at St. Francis Preparatory School for 32 years before he was fired after coming out as transgender. After one parent complained about Krolikowski’s appearance–earrings and French manicured nails–he was forced to come out to the school’s principal and was subsequently fired for insubordination. Please sign this petition and demand an apology from the school’s principal for wrongful termination and sexual discrimination against Krolikowski.

Over the course of his 32 year teaching career at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, New York, Mark Krolikowski not only taught his own curriculum, but also volunteered to lead students in extracurricular activities. According to former students, Krolikowski was a beloved and well-respected teacher with a feminine edge. A former student reflects, “I really never questioned his gender identity despite his somewhat feminized looks.” “It just didn’t seem to matter, and it never affected his teaching style or his opinions. He never imposed anything on us.” Since Krolikowski’s termination became public, a wealth of support has poured out in online petitions and testimonials to his commitment as a teacher.

In October, 2011, Krolikowski was confronted by Principal Leonard Conway and Assistant Principal Patrick McLaughlin after a parent had complained about his appearance. Krolikowski admits that his look is considered unconventional, but his personal grooming conformed to school standards and he wore a suit and tie. After Krolikowski was asked to change his appearance in response to the complaint, he informed Conway and McLaughlin he was transgender. According to the lawsuit Krolikowski has filed against the school, he was then asked if he would “appear as a woman” in the next school year and was told that he was “worse than gay.” Allegedly Krolikowski was told he could no longer be seen at public events for the school.

Still wanting to teach at the school, Krolikowski did what he was asked and toned down his appearance by removing his earrings and French manicure. Regardless, Krolikowski was called back to the principal’s office in June 2012 where he was told that he had been insubordinate and had not changed his appearance enough to satisfy the school. He was relieved of his duties and a letter of resignation was demanded.

New York City’s Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in hiring and firing based on gender identity among other status declarations. Please sign this petition to show your support for Mark Krolkiowski and demand an apology from Leonard Conway for wrongful termination and discrimination.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Principal Conway,

Your decision to terminate a well-respected and enthusiastic teacher who has served your school faithfully for 32 years is not only illegal, but a deplorable display of sexual discrimination. Mark Krolikowski was asked to change his appearance after a parent complained about his earrings and French manicure. Krolikowski conformed, but in the process came out as transgender and was fired within the school year. It seems very suspicious that Krolikowski was fired after 32 years of service with only one complaint and straight As on his last teacher observation form. Please apologize to Mark Krolikowski for your offensive response to his sexual orientation and wrongful termination of his position at St. Francis Preparatory School.

According to the thousands of people that have come out in support of Krolikowski and his lawsuit against the school, he was a beloved teacher who wore many hats as an involved servant of the school. Students describe him as having a “feminine edge”, though nothing was shocking, distracting or imposed on them. He received stellar teaching evaluations, wrote and taught his own curriculum, and never encountered administrative issues until after he came out as transgender.

Coming out in the work place is scary and uncomfortable for exactly the reasons illustrated in this situation. You made Krolikowski’s coming out not only scary and uncomfortable, but also humiliating and demeaning by asking if he would “appear as a woman” in the next school year and telling him that he was “worse than gay.” As an educator at a Catholic school it is your job to preach kindness and love. Unfortunately, you have only spotlighted your ignorance, insensitivity and incapacity to fill your responsibilities as a principal.

Please do the right thing by apologizing to Mark Krolikowski for humiliating him, discriminating against him based on sexual orientation and wrongfully terminating him without cause.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: kctv5 via Yahoo

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