Cathy Samford, a teacher at the Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, Texas, has been fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock. The school says that Samford violated the “moral clause” in her contract.
Samford told Good Morning America that her pregnancy wasn’t the result of a one night stand. Samford said:
“I’m not just some teacher that went out to a bar and go pregnant and went back to school saying it’s okay… 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.”
Samford said that when she was informed by the school that she was being fired, she offered to get married. She is now engaged to her fiance but the school said that it doesn’t change anything.
The school’s headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor said:
“It doesn’t change that her behavior was out of wedlock… It’s not that she’s pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother. 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.”
Samford insists that she did not break the “moral contract” which states that teachers are expected to should be good “Christian role models.”
“It was not a decision that we took lightly because we love Cathy… and wish her nothing but the best. Were we a public school, this would not have been an issue. But it’s different in a Christian school.”
Samford has hired an attorney to fight her firing. Her attorney Colin Walsh says that the school is using the “moral contact” to get around anti-discrimination laws. Walsh said:
“It’s against the law to fire someone for them taking a pregnancy leave and you can’t preventatively fire someone. You can’t contract around anti-discrimination laws. Just being generally religious or upholding Christian values is not enough to evoke the ministerial exception.”
Samford, who already has two children from another marriage, is seeking a new job to provide for her family. Samford lost her insurance when she lost her job and will have plenty of medical bills in the coming months.
What do you think about Cathy Samford’s situation? Was the school right to fire her? Does a pregnancy out of wedlock automatically make you a bad role model? Is turning your back on a good teacher in her time of need the “christian” thing to do?