Nancy Matteo, the principal of St Andrew Elementary School, a reputed educational institution in suburban Philadelphia, apologized to parents for having sent out dance invitations that featured Ellen DeGeneres on it.
The theme for the graduation dance that is to be organized at the school on June 8 is Oscars. When Matteo realized that the organizing committee had used DeGeneres’ image on the invitation, she immediately sent out an email to parents of students on May 20 saying that using the photo was “completely wrong” since the television host “lives her life outside the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
DeGeneres came out of the closet and declared herself homosexual in 1997, eventually marrying actress Portia de Rossi in 2008. She also hosted the Oscars in 2007 and 2014. The picture on the school’s invitation shows DeGeneres holding an Oscar statue alongside the phrase ‘Live from the Red Carpet.’
According to local news websites that acquired the text of the email sent out by Matteo, the note does not mention DeGeneres’ sexual orientation but it does refer to her as a “poor role model.” Matteo did not speak with the media but said in the email that she was “obviously not thinking” when the invitations were sent out with the photo of DeGeneres on them.
“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… This does not describe her at all. We work so hard to be good role models and then I go and do something stupid!” read the email.
She requested that the invitations be returned so they could be destroyed and new ones be sent in their place.
“Catholic schools are firmly rooted in Gospel-based values and the teachings of the Church and any promotional materials developed by the schools are expected to 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,” said Ken Gavin, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Gavin was explaining to the media how Matteo had admitted to her mistake when parents questioned the use of DeGeneres’ photo on the school’s dance invitations.