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Teacher/coach fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy. She's due in 3 months and now has no health insurance. Fair or foul?

KoAm 2012/04/12 14:39:27
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In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal
challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired
by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before
being married.

As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant
out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years
and had been named the school's coach of the year once during that span.


Still, that couldn't help save her job when she first admitted her
pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her
based on a violation of her contract's morals clause because it was
determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as "a Christian role model."


"I looked it up and thought, 'They can't do this,'" the 29-year-old
Samford told WFAA. "We all have different views and interpretations.
It's not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside
because of those."

While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a
discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated
by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be "ministers in the classroom."


"The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled
9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a
ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct," Heritage
Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school,
told WFAA. "How's it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that
sees she's pregnant and she's not married?"



While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed
quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the
case.


That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she
heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible
when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy's faculty.

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Top Opinion

  • MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace 2012/04/12 15:21:47
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace
    +7
    AddStop putting labels on people. You look stupid trying to do it. I am a liberal, but I believe that the private Christian school has a right to hold her to morality clause in the contract she signed. That is more than fair.

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  • Charles E 2012/04/15 00:23:08
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    Charles E
    First, she knew the rules when she was hired.
    Second, A school large enough to have a vollyball coach probably has enough employees to be covered by COBRA, so she could probably have insurance.
    Third, even if she was rehired, her pregnancy would probably be a pre-existing condition and therefore still not covered.

    After the legalities, WHERE'S THE FATHER?

    And I agree it is not a very forgiving attitude for a religious school.

    IMO, she still deserves some consideration in that she didn't take the easy trip to Planned Parenthood and have the baby killed.
  • Murph 2012/04/13 21:41:01 (edited)
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    Murph
    +1
    I know it's an alien concept to liberals, but there is such a thing as morality. She signed a contract, and she broke it. She chose to have sex before marriage, and women who have sex get pregnant. These are choices, and liberals are big on defending choice. I don't understand what they're crying about.
  • conservyT 2012/04/13 15:09:06
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    conservyT
    +1
    Our 3 children attend a Christian School and if this was their teacher, while knowing that she wasn't married, well all hell would break loose. I’m just Thankful it’s not my children’s school. I could only imagine what kind of questions my 5 and 7 year old would be asking my husband or me.
  • kmay 2012/04/13 13:36:27
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    kmay
    +4
    Respect Christians beliefs as you want people to respect yours!
  • Charles E kmay 2012/04/15 00:25:19
    Charles E
    Thank you!
  • Artist~PWCM~ 2012/04/13 13:01:04
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    Artist~PWCM~
    +2
    I sympathize but she did sign the contract. I've seen those moral clauses before...they've got teeth!
  • conservyT Artist~... 2012/04/13 14:59:43
    conservyT
    Ha funny...
  • ray 2012/04/13 12:58:51
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    ray
    +3
    This woman and her paramour will simply have to pay the bills for themselves .
    These two created a family , let them assume the responsibility.
  • Dagon 2012/04/13 12:49:47
  • DADDYFATS61 2012/04/13 12:28:30 (edited)
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    DADDYFATS61
    +5
    You play you pay !
  • PrettieReptar 2012/04/13 06:32:58
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    PrettieReptar
    +4
    Why'd she take the job if she had no intent on keeping her end of the agreement? I think it looks bad on her not the school.
  • KoAm Prettie... 2012/04/13 06:39:03
    KoAm
    +1
    Well, was she planning on getting pregnant later on, at the time she accepted the job? We don't know that she was, and I certainly hope she wasn't.

    If it doesn't look bad on the school, then they had even less of a reason to fire her.

    If they had done the truly Christian thing -- that is, to hate the sin but love the sinner, and stand by her in her time of need -- nobody would have heard about this. It never would have made the news.

    But because they fired her (leaving her financially strained and without health insurance for the last 3 months of her pregnancy), it's all over the news now.

    The school has basically given its students the message that if you sin, you can expect no mercy or support or love from the very people who are supposed to give those things to you. Rather, you can expect to be abandoned, shunned, and maybe even left financially destitute and have your health put at risk.

    That's not a very Christian attitude, in my humble opinion.
  • Prettie... KoAm 2012/04/13 17:44:10 (edited)
    PrettieReptar
    Come on Jen, you know that getting pregnant is not an accident. She made a conscious decision. The mature, responsible (and Christian) thing to do would be for her to acknowledge that she made a poor choice and then live with the consequences of that choice. She is acting like a spoiled child--not a very good role model if you ask me.

    While I understand and appreciate your visceral response, the basis of the evaluation should be whether the consequence is a morally right state of affairs, not whether it violates your sense of justice (not whether you like or dislike the concept). Firing her because she broke the contract is the consequence for her behavior. The idea of firing her is unpleasant however it is the morally right thing to do. I'm sure the school is taking no pleasure in holding her accountable. Often doing the right thing isn't pleasurable--something she failed to take into consideration when she got herself pregnant.

    I think you are focusing too much on the softer virtues like love and tenderness while you have forgotten the hard virtues of holiness, righteousness and justice. Christianity includes both--although you wouldn't know it because most people's reactions are based on American sentimentalism.

    If the concept of being held responsible for your actions violates your sense of justice, then I'm sure you probably won't like the Christian teaching of hell either.

    Edit: remove the word you and add the word are.
  • Charles E KoAm 2012/04/15 00:29:02
    Charles E
    If she had not violated the spirit of her contract she would not be pregnant and in obvious violation of the letter of the contract.
  • lmgirl 2012/04/12 21:29:03
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    lmgirl
    +3
    She signed a morality clause. The Bible clearly states that fornication is wrong. That is not a "different view or interpretation." As for tossing her to the curb, this says that it occurred during the fall semester. School is almost over now. Why hasn't she got another job since then? If she had then she wouldn't be scrambling for insurance now. Or maybe she should have the baby's father pay for it?
  • KoAm lmgirl 2012/04/13 06:47:10
    KoAm
    >>>The Bible clearly states that fornication is wrong.<<<

    It also says a few things about loving sinners while hating their sins. What this school is now teaching its students is that if they sin, they can expect no mercy or support or charity from the very people who are closest to them in life and are in a position to provide them.

    Besides, her unborn child has committed no sin here. The school isn't only punishing the teacher -- they're also punishing the child by leaving his/her mother unemployed and uninsured.

    >>>As for tossing her to the curb, this says that it occurred during the fall semester. School is almost over now. Why hasn't she got another job since then? If she had then she wouldn't be scrambling for insurance now.<<<

    Easier said than done in this economy. Besides, do you know of many schools looking to hire teachers in the middle of the school year, or near the end of it? I don't. Especially, again, in this economy.

    >>> Or maybe she should have the baby's father pay for it?<<<

    Well, we don't know the story there. Maybe the baby's father has split and can't be located. Maybe she doesn't even know who he is. Maybe your idea has already been considered, but for some reason, isn't able to be carried out.

    I'm as conservative as they come, and I'm as church-going (Catho...



    >>>The Bible clearly states that fornication is wrong.<<<

    It also says a few things about loving sinners while hating their sins. What this school is now teaching its students is that if they sin, they can expect no mercy or support or charity from the very people who are closest to them in life and are in a position to provide them.

    Besides, her unborn child has committed no sin here. The school isn't only punishing the teacher -- they're also punishing the child by leaving his/her mother unemployed and uninsured.

    >>>As for tossing her to the curb, this says that it occurred during the fall semester. School is almost over now. Why hasn't she got another job since then? If she had then she wouldn't be scrambling for insurance now.<<<

    Easier said than done in this economy. Besides, do you know of many schools looking to hire teachers in the middle of the school year, or near the end of it? I don't. Especially, again, in this economy.

    >>> Or maybe she should have the baby's father pay for it?<<<

    Well, we don't know the story there. Maybe the baby's father has split and can't be located. Maybe she doesn't even know who he is. Maybe your idea has already been considered, but for some reason, isn't able to be carried out.

    I'm as conservative as they come, and I'm as church-going (Catholic) as they come. I don't condone at all a teacher at a Christian school having sex out of wedlock and getting pregnant.

    But what's done is done. The school says she can't serve as a Christian model for the kids now -- but her situation is temporary. Meanwhile, the school isn't exactly serving as a Christian model here, either. Not in the departments of mercy, forgiveness, and helping a person get back on their feet (spiritually speaking) after serious sin.

    Didn't Jesus say something about people not throwing stones if they're not sinless themselves? It's a good thing for the adulterous woman in John 8 that the school's administrators weren't around -- they probably would have started stoning her.
    (more)
  • rightside 2012/04/12 21:20:42
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    rightside
    +5
    This school has obviously set a standard for the children that come there. Parents are paying big bucks to send their kids there with that guarantee.
    Why do people insist on thinking that they are entitled to a job even if they don't do what they are suppose to do?
  • Charles E rightside 2012/04/15 00:30:41
    Charles E
    +1
    Excellent point. If they want a typical amoral education they could save a load of bucks and send their kids to government run schools.
  • rightside Charles E 2012/04/15 04:54:07
    rightside
    +1
    Oh! Said so well!
  • Freeranger 2012/04/12 17:23:35
    Undecided / mixed emotions
    Freeranger
    +2
    Of course, we could actually ask the question as to what her requirements were contractually, or is that too rational?
  • Charles E Freeranger 2012/04/15 00:34:07
    Charles E
    Uh? To obey Biblical teachings, such as no fornication. Pretty obvious to me and I am not Christian.
  • MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace 2012/04/12 15:21:47
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace
    +7
    AddStop putting labels on people. You look stupid trying to do it. I am a liberal, but I believe that the private Christian school has a right to hold her to morality clause in the contract she signed. That is more than fair.
  • Charles E MsTlynn... 2012/04/15 00:36:11
    Charles E
    Thank you for defending the right of contracts, even it the results may not be what your political beliefs would prefer.
  • MsTlynn... Charles E 2012/04/15 00:55:50
    MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace
    The validity of contracts has absolutely NOTHING to do with political affiliation. That's as silly as saying what a person decides to have for dinner depends on the preference of the majoroity of their chosen political party. This crap needs to stop.
  • Charles E MsTlynn... 2012/04/15 01:22:46
    Charles E
    Sorry if I offended. That was not my intent.
  • MsTlynn... Charles E 2012/04/15 14:13:50
    MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace
    +1
    No problem. Have a nice day ;-)
  • MichaelJ 2012/04/12 14:51:52
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    MichaelJ
    +6
    I know this will be beyond the understanding of many of our more liberal friends. You see when you sign an agreement and you break it, then you shouldn't be surprised at the consquences.

    It's kind of like signing a mortgage agreement. You sign it and you shouldn't act surprized when you don't make your payments that you lose your house.
  • KoAm MichaelJ 2012/04/12 14:53:25
    KoAm
    Well, I'm as conservative as they come, but I don't agree with what the school did here. For the reasons I've outlined here in another post.

    Not trying to change your mind or anything. I see what you're saying. Just don't agree, that's all.
  • MichaelJ KoAm 2012/04/12 14:58:48 (edited)
    MichaelJ
    +2
    Jen, not a problem. We all look at things from our own perspective.

    It is great to say that to be christian you should be forgiving and that is true. However to forgive everything, no matter how wrong, is actually a good example of the difference between conservatives and liberals. It's easy to be a liberal. You don't have to forgive anyone because you hold no one to any type of standards.

    So in my opinion, forgive the the sin but not the agreement she signed when applying for the job.
  • KoAm MichaelJ 2012/04/13 06:49:00
    KoAm
    +1
    But how is the sin being forgiven here, when the price she's paying for it is losing her job (and her health insurance) three months before her baby is due?

    Plus, the woman isn't the only woman being punished here -- so is the unborn child, in a way, given that his/her mother is now unemployed and uninsured. That will obviously have a negative affect on the child, although he/she did nothing to deserve it.
  • Dagon KoAm 2012/04/13 12:52:54
  • Sport_G... KoAm 2012/04/12 16:03:42
    Sport_Geoff
    +4
    She signed the contract with the morality clause so it is binding. If she read it before signing she should have questioned the clause before hand........by signing she accepted the terms of the contract no matter how "broad" the morality clause may have been leaving herself open to the judgement of the board and officials as to whether or not she violated the contract.
    As a Christian based school they have the right to require certain conduct. She will lose this strictly on the basis of she entered into the contract of her own free will and chose to work for the school. Where contracts are concerned "ignorance or lack of understanding" of the contract freely signed is not a defense or grounds for severance of the contract.
  • KoAm Sport_G... 2012/04/13 06:50:43
    KoAm
    +1
    I'm not saying the school doesn't have a legal right to fire her. Legally speaking, they do.

    But from a Christian moral/ethical standpoint, I think what the school is doing is wrong.
  • MsTlynn... MichaelJ 2012/04/12 15:20:40
    MsTlynne #NoJusticeNoPeace
    +3
    Stop putting labels on people. You look stupid trying to do it. I am a liberal, but I believe that the private Christian school has a right to hold her to morality clause in the contract she signed. That is more than fair.
  • MichaelJ MsTlynn... 2012/04/12 16:55:14
    MichaelJ
    +1
    Oh! OK.
  • KoAm 2012/04/12 14:48:37
    Foul. This isn't a very Christian thing to do. Besides, it will affect her ...
    KoAm
    I'm as conservative as they come, and I'm as Catholic as they come (this school is Protestant, from the looks of it) ... but I think this is so wrong.

    The school says she can't now be a Christian role model for the kids. But why can't the school be a Christian role model for the kids -- by loving the sinner while hating the sin, and not casting her out in her time of need?

    Besides, we Christians (whether Catholic like me, or Protestant like the school) are supposed to be pro-life. We're supposed to encourage women, including unmarried ones, not to have their unborn children murdered in abortion mills. The school's decision here, in my view, goes against that in a way.

    They could have told the kids, "What she did was sinful, but we are to only hate the sin, not the sinner. And she needs help and support right now, so let's make sure she gets it."

    Nothing could be more Christian than that.
  • Mrs. Kathy Arch 2012/04/12 14:43:20
    Fair. It's a private school, and she had a morals clause in her contract.
    Mrs. Kathy Arch
    +2
    It's sad, but at my school, all of that is writtten in my contract.
  • KoAm Mrs. Ka... 2012/04/12 14:51:38
    KoAm
    But there are things, especially at a Christian school, that should be put at a higher priority than what's in a contract.

    It's not like she subscribed to Playgirl or went to a strip club -- she got pregnant, and pregnant women need help. They don't need to be cast off, left without income or health insurance, all while they're choosing life for their children rather than murder in an abortion clinic.

    They could have hated the sin while loving the sinner, and supporting her in her time of need. That would have been a perfect Christian message to teach the kids -- that while they don't condone the sin, the sinner is in need of love and support.
  • Mrs. Ka... KoAm 2012/04/12 14:57:29
    Mrs. Kathy Arch
    +4
    I don't disagree with you. But I don't think she is the victim of an irrational hate filled group though. She made a poor choice, and sadly, I think the school felt compelled to take a stand. I do feel sad for her, and the child, but she should have known better. Parochial Schools are usually very explicit when it comes to that. Sadly, it is only women who have to suffer the effects of pregnancy out of wedlock.

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