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Teacher to Sue After Being Fired From TX Christian School Over Unwed Pregnancy


"The issue here is being an unmarried mother."


Christian values generally call for abstinence until marriage. Despite this moral code, many believers still find themselves engaging in the act when they enter into committed relationships. Cathy Samford, a former teacher and volleyball coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, Texas, was one of these individuals. Her sexual activity, which led to unwed pregnancy, led officials to fire her from the private school.

In the fall of 2011, Samford, who was engaged and planning to get married, discovered that she was with child. She had planned to wed the previous summer, but various events delayed the nuptials. When she went to tell administrators about the pregnancy news, she claims she never dreamed she'd be terminated.

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"I didn't think I would lose my job," Samford told ABC News. "I was in shock and devastated and that's when I said, 'If this is the problem, I'm willing, and so is my fiancé, to go ahead and get married. That wasn't the issue. We were going to get married regardless."

But the school's headmaster, Dr. Ron Taylor, told the outlet that Samford's standing as a Christian role model was put in jeopardy by the pregnancy.

"It's not that she's pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother," Taylor explained. "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."

Sanford, though, disagrees with this assessment and claims that she didn't violate her contract in any way. She has hired a lawyer to take the school on in court.

"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," Sanford's Lawyer, Colin Walsh, explained to ABC News. "Just being generally religious or upholding Christian values is not enough to evoke the ministerial exception."

While the details of what, exactly, Sanford is seeking are not clear, Walsh has filed a discrimination charge based on gender and pregnancy with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Additionally, they plan to sue the school.

Sanford's baby is due April 19 and she is also responsible for two children from a previous marriage. Money, she says, is a major concern.

"I'm very worried about money. I'm just hoping to make it through this month. I've had lots of medical bills," she said. "My insurance was dropped so everything I've had to pay is out of pocket. I'm using my tax return just to live on. It's a big concern. I don't know what next month holds for me."

Considering the ministerial exemption -- a legal precedent that makes it virtually impossible for employees of religious organizations to sue for discrimination -- this case seems to be more in the school's favor.

(H/T: ABC News)

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