Not sure what to make of this news story since I know that private religious schools have expectations of their staffs built into their employment contracts.
Read it and let us know what you think:
From Huffington Post: (Where you can see the ABC report from which this posting was drawn and hear both sides tell their story.)
Cathy Samford, once a 29-year-old teacher at Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, Tex., was fired after she and her school discovered last fall that she had become pregnant out of wedlock. Now, Samford is speaking out in her defense — saying she was “totally shocked,” ABC News reports. Samford told ABC News that she and her fiance were planning to get married, but complications arose and the wedding had to be delayed.
“I’m not just some teacher that went out to a bar and go pregnant and went back to school saying it’s okay,” Samford told ABC. “I was in a committed relationship the whole time and probably would have been married if things had gone differently and this would be a non-situation.”
When she approached school officials concerning missing part of the basketball season, which she was set to coach, Samford said they responded by telling her she was terminated, devastating the science teacher.
“I didn’t think I would lose my job,” Samford told the network. “I was in shock and devastated and that’s when I said, ‘If this is the problem, I’m willing, and so is my fiancé, to go ahead and get married. That wasn’t the issue. We were going to get married regardless.”
Colin Walsh, Samford’s attorney, told WFAA-TV the school’s actions are illegal. “You can’t discriminate against someone who’s pregnant or has a pregnancy-related medical condition,” Walsh told the station. “That is both state and federal law.”
Dr. Ron Taylor, the school’s headmaster, told WFAA it wasn’t an easy decision to make but because HCA is a private Christian school, they consider and expect their teachers to be ministers as well. “It’s not that she’s pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother,” Taylor told ABC News. “Everything that we stand for says that we want our teachers, who we consider to be in the ministry, to model what a Christian man or woman should be.”
This incident comes in the wake of a similar issue involving Jarretta Jamilton, a fourth grade teacher at Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Fla., who was fired after school officials discovered that she conceived her child before her and her husband married. After taking legal action, a federal judge ruled against Hamilton, claiming she “failed to prove she was treated differently than other Southland employees who engaged in premarital sex.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog