The principal of a Catholic school in Newtown, Pennsylvania apologized to parents and asked that the invitations she made to a school event be returned because they included a picture of comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Nancy Matteo contacted parents via email saying she was “obviously NOT thinking” when she included a promotional picture of DeGeneres in the invitations for the graduation dance at St. Andrew Elementary School.
“I need every single invitation returned and I will personally destroy them,” Matteo wrote.
Matteo also described DeGeneres, who publicly announced she was gay in 1997, as a “poor role model” and suggested that she was “distracted” by the photo of her holding an Academy Award in the picture. The invitation did not mention DeGeneres by name. This year’s dance reportedly has an Oscars-related theme.
“A role model, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is a person who is unusually effective or inspiring in some social role, job, position, etc.,” Matteo stated in her email. “This does not describe her at all. We work so hard to be good role models and then I go and do something stupid!”
Archdiocese of Philadelphia spokesperson Ken Gavin told the Inquirer in a statement that Matteo apologized on her own accord after complaints from parents.
“All Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are firmly rooted in Gospel-based values and the teachings of the Church,” the statement read. “As such, it is expected that any promotional materials developed by these schools would feature images and themes that correspond with their core mission and identity. That approach is logical and our school families have a right to expect it.”
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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