Officials at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina apologized to parents and students on Wednesday following a guest speaker’s remarks condemning homosexuality at a school assembly, WSOC-TV reported.
“The statement she basically made was that homosexuality was something developed from lack of masculinity or a lack of father figures in one life,” one student told WSOC regarding the speech from Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, an assistant professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Several parents complained that they were not notified about Laurel’s speech, which was originally billed as concerning “gender.”
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Charlotte told WSOC that Laurel “presented some ideas to the students that really kind of rocked their world. These had to do with the origin of homosexuality. This is something that is hotly debated.”
Q Notes reported that 64 students and 86 alumni signed on to a letter to school officials criticizing her remarks. In addition, more than 2,000 signed a petition at Change.org calling for an apology from both the school and its chaplain, Father Matthew Kauth.
“Using outdated or false statistics to tell children and young adults that their LGBTQ friends, family members, and colleagues are the result of their parents’ missteps is damaging. Suggesting that LGBTQ members of the very audience you were addressing owe their sexual identities to pornography and masturbation is abhorrent,” the letter read. “Presenting these false ideas to high school students not only advocates discrimination of LGBTQ students, but also tells those individuals that they are damaged or incomplete.”
However, Mother Jones reported that Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith, president of Acquinas College, released a statement saying Laurel’s lecture “was given with the intention of showing that human sexuality is a great gift to be treasured and that this gift is given by God.”
Watch WSOC’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.