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?
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
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
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.
See Votes by State
News & Politics