Missouri Catholic school fires unmarried pregnant teacher after praising her for not getting an abortion
A Catholic school reportedly fired an unmarried teacher after she became pregnant and refused to have an abortion, according to a lawsuit. The lawyers of the woman, identified as Michelle Bolen, alleged that a priest at St Therese Catholic School in Kansas City, Missouri, praised her for refusing to get an abortion.
However, the same priest, Father Josep Cisetti, later suggested to Bolen that the school would not have had to deal with the "scandal" of an unmarried pregnant teacher if she had gone against Catholic teaching and had an abortion.
Bolen's attorney, EE Keenan, while talking to the Kansas City-Star, said that the priest also told his client that "pregnancy is not the problem. Fornication is."
"He’s basically speaking out of both sides of his mouth," Keenan told the outlet, adding that his client's dismissal from the school is a violation of the 1986 Missouri Abortion Act, which protects women from being fired for refusing to terminate their pregnancy.
However, lawyers for the Diocese of St Therese have pointed out Bolen's employment contract in the case, which states that "in carrying out these solemn responsibilities as a teacher, I will conduct myself in a manner that does not contradict her doctrinal and moral teachings (of the Catholic Church)." The contract adds that Bolen must "carry out responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the requirements of church law."
The teacher had reportedly worked at the particular school for 15 years before she was told that her contract was not being renewed for the academic year 2015/2016. Bolen's former colleague, Emily Keefe, on Friday last week, slammed her professional performance, claiming that she often left her first-grade students unattended. Keefe also recalled an incident where she recorded that the teacher had left her class unattended, saying: "I was fed up, so I recorded it. I felt like she wasn’t pulling her weight on the team."
Meanwhile, Bolen, while speaking to the outlet, said: "I will see this through until the end. I’m so proud of myself for persisting, so no one else has to go through this.”
Bolen's hearing is expected to occur later this month when judges will decide whether her termination from the school was unfair or not.