Religion

Catholic School Fires Unwed Pregnant Couple, Leaving Mother Without Health Insurance

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Two teachers at a Catholic School in Lawrence, Massachusetts were fired from the school after announcing that they were expecting a child together.

The teachers, Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland, have both been teaching at Lawrence Catholic Academy for years. Houlihan teaches social studies to 7th and 8th graders while Ferland teaches 2nd graders.

The couple started dating in March. Things quickly became serious between the two and –surprise!- Ferland found out she was pregnant in October. While the couple is elated to have a child together, their employer isn’t so enthusiastic. Soon after finding out about the pregnancy, school leaders fired both teachers.

When asked why they were being fired, the couple was told their pregnancy was not in line with the teaching and values of the Catholic Church. As most of you probably know, the church condemns sex outside of marriage.

The couple is now accusing the church of hypocrisy after pointing out that other school unwed school staff members have become pregnant in recent years and retained their jobs. Several staff members are divorced as well. Both of these actions are condemned by the church just as the couple’s pregnancy is, so why are they being fired?

“We were role models and effective educators. We cooperated with our colleagues and were committed to social justice in Lawrence,” said Houlihan. “It’s certainly not a Catholic value to throw two people out on the street at the holidays. I am not perfect. But what they did to us was wrong.”

Not only have both of these future parents lost their incomes, but they’ve lost their health insurance as well. As a pregnant mother, Ferland will now be left struggling to pay for imminent prenatal care bills.

School principal Jorge Hernandez declined to answer questions about the couple’s firing from the Eagle Tribune. He referred all inquiries to the Archdiocese of Boston, which released the following statement:

“Lawrence Catholic Academy is committed to providing a Catholic faith-based education as part of an exceptional overall 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.” 

Sources: Eagle Tribune, CBS Boston

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