Sports coach claims she was expelled from Indianapolis religious school for being gay

Sports coach Krystal Brazel – Photo: RTV6.

A certified athletic trainer who helped coach a women’s softball team to a state title last year said she was fired from her post at a religious high school in Indianapolis because she was gay.

Krystal Brazel, an athletic trainer employed by Franciscan Health, has worked at Lutheran High School in Indianapolis for the past five years.

The Franciscans are partnering with local schools to place formators there and initially sent Brazel to Lutheran on a limited basis. But she eventually convinced them to place her in school full time.

When she started out as a track and field coach, she was diagnosing injuries on a folding table in the hallway. She started to collect donations and eventually managed to create a training room for all the athletes in the school.

Four years ago, after a year on the job, he was asked to help coach the softball team, in addition to his coaching duties. In this role, she was seen as a true employee of the Lutheran High School.

“I remember going to school thinking I never wanted to coach high school track and field again. That’s why I got my masters, ”Brazel told Indianapolis affiliate ABC. RTV6.

“Life has arrived. And I started at Lutheran just helping out and I realized that’s really God’s call to me, to make an impact on the lives of these people and maybe be theirs. first true gay Christian they ever interacted with.

But Brazel says that in February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in, she was told she would no longer be allowed to work, train or volunteer at school due to her sexual orientation and the fact that she is engaged. be married to another woman on July 18.

She claims that the sports director and the school principal called her to a meeting and asked her to read part of the school textbook stating that homosexuality is a sin.

Brazel then claims that they asked her to sign a pledge that she would follow the guidelines in the manual. She refused, which resulted in her firing as a softball coach.

“I think they really decided to make an example of me,” she said. “It breaks my heart. I know what I poured into this school.

In June, Franciscan Health and Lutheran High School found themselves deadlocked in negotiations and were unable to come to a deal that would have allowed him to continue as a sports coach at the school.

As a result, Brazel will be reassigned to New Augusta Public Academy in Pike Township, Indiana.

The principal of the Lutheran High School, Michael Brandt, released a statement defending the decision to terminate Brazel.

“Indianapolis Lutheran High School is founded on the doctrine of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and expects employees who accompany its students to respect and consistently live by these principles,” Brandt said.

“The school’s mission is to prepare young adults for a Christian life in a Christ-centered environment,” Brandt continued. “Indianapolis Lutheran High School needs student leaders who are committed to these values.”

See also: Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ new policy would ban transgender students from parish schools

Franciscan Health has issued its own statement confirming that Brazel is still employed by the organization.

“Franciscan Health’s sports coaches are highly qualified and work under the guidance of the team’s doctors,” the statement said.

“Our coaches provide services such as pre-participation physical exams, promotion of safe and appropriate training and competition facilities, development of injury and illness prevention strategies, as well as education and training. consultations with student-athletes, coaches and parents.

“Franciscan Health is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal civil rights laws.

“Krystal Brazel is a Certified Athletic Trainer and has been affiliated with Franciscan Health’s Sports Medicine Program for several years.

“His role as a softball coach at Lutheran is not a position associated with his role at Franciscan Health.”

Brazel did not say if she was considering taking legal action. But she would likely have a hard time bringing a lawsuit, given a recent Supreme Court ruling that religious school employees are not protected by federal nondiscrimination laws, on the grounds that they are considered as “ministers” responsible for propagating the religious beliefs of the schools.

“I loved every moment of my time spent serving the Lutheran community. I know God put me there for a reason and now God is using me for another purpose, ”Brazel said in a statement.

“I want to prove daily by my actions that you can be a member of the LGBTQ community and be a Christian. I hope to send a message of love.

“And I hope the Lutheran high school administration uses the Bible as a tool to share love and acceptance rather than a weapon to discriminate.”

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