Maria Regina School teacher says he lost job over his sexuality
Michael Califano, a third grade teacher at Maria Regina School in Seaford, says he was told Wednesday he was out of a job. Califano, who attended the school and is a parishioner at the church, said he was told he had violated guidelines about “living a Catholic lifestyle.”
He said he does not feel he violated them but says somebody sent the diocese pictures of him and his boyfriend and that the situation “escalated” from there.
Many members of the community are rallying around Califano. There’s a Facebook group with hundreds of members in support of the teacher, as well as a petition circulating for reinstatement of his position.
Parent Toni Lichtenberger says Califano is an “amazing teacher” who had a “great relationship” with his students.
Califano’s father was a Nassau County police officer killed in the line of duty. He also attended Maria Regina School. Each year, the family raises money for scholarships in his honor.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Rockville Centre told News 12, “We do not comment publicly on personnel matters as they are confidential.”
Parents are planning a rally in support of Califano in front of St. Agnes Cathedral on Friday.
Califano said if he was given his job back, he’d certainly be in the classroom Wednesday when students are due back from break. He also said he plans on going to church as usual this Sunday.