An unmarried Irish American couple in Lawrence, MA claim they were fired from their positions as teachers by their Roman Catholic school upon revealing they were expecting their first baby.
Sean Houlihan (34) and Natalie Ferland (26) are now pursuing legal action against Lawrence Catholic Academy. They were both fired in November 2013.
The teachers began dating in March. Ferland found out she was pregnant in October and they immediately began planning their wedding. However they were fired just before November.
In their termination letters he wrote that the teachers were fired “for good cause in accordance with the terms of the Lay Teacher Agreement you signed for this academic year.”
He added “Based upon your disclosures to me during our meeting of Nov. 20, 2013, it was determined you were in violation of the terms of your contract.”
The couple do not want their jobs back. However they want the terminations currently on their records to be converted to resignations so they will be able to find other jobs in education.
Houlihan told UPI “We don’t want a lawsuit. But we want them to state we are good educators.
“We were role models and effective educators. We cooperated with our colleagues and were committed to social justice in Lawrence. It’s certainly not a Catholic value to throw two people out on the street at the holidays.”
The Boston Archdiocese declined to comment on any individual case, but released a statement. It reads:
“Lawrence Catholic Academy is committed to providing a Catholic faith-based education as part of an exceptional overall academic experience. Our teachers sign an agreement to adhere to the teachings and principles of the Catholic Church, among many other criteria essential for employment. When that contract is violated it is the school’s responsibility to make a determination as to whether a member of the staff can remain based on the facts of the matter. This is important so as to be consistent in following the school’s responsibility to live by the core principles of a Catholic education.”
Here’s the CBS local report on the story: