SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – More than 350 teachers in high schools administrated by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco signed a letter urging Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to drop proposed morality clauses from the teacher handbook.

According to organizers, 80 percent of the faculty and staff at the affected schools signed the letter. Organizers said they received signatures from 126 teachers and staff from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, 87 from Serra High School in San Mateo, 74 at Archbishop Riordan and 68 at Marin Catholic.

In the letter, the teachers said, “We believe the recently proposed handbook language is harmful to our community and creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear.  We believe our schools should be places of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas where all feel welcome and affirmed.”

“This language in this judgmental context undermines the mission of Catholic education and the inclusive, diverse and welcoming community we prize at our schools,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral teacher Jim Jordan, who helped organize the campaign.

Last month, Cordileone issued his recommendations for a new teacher contract, including a provision asking “administrators, faculty and staff of any faith or of no faith, are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny” church teachings. They include opposition to abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage.

The firestorm over the proposal has led to protests at Saint Mary’s Cathedral and lawmakers to ask for a state investigation of working conditions at the schools.

Last week, the archbishop said he would form a committee of theology teachers to review the guidelines and removed another controversial proposal that would designate teachers as ministers.

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