Teachers fired from Massachusetts Catholic school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy

Lawrence Catholic Academy terminates teachers Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland.
By Evan Bleier  |  Dec. 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM
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Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Former Lawrence Catholic Academy teachers Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland were terminated after revealing their relationship and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy to school administrators.

Houlihan and Ferland were let go from LCA on the Monday before Thanksgiving for violating their contracts. Houlihan, 34, repeatedly requested that he and Ferland, 26, be allowed to resign, but the school was unwilling to allow that.

As a result, Houlihan and Ferland are campaigning against the “unprofessional and un-Christian like” treatment they have received in an effort to get the terminations removed from their professional records.

“We don’t want a lawsuit. But we want them to state we are good educators,” Houlihan said. “We were role models and effective educators. We cooperated with our colleagues and were committed to social justice in Lawrence. It’s certainly not a Catholic value to throw two people out on the street at the holidays.”

Five days after they were fired, the health and dental insurance for both teachers was cut off.

In their termination letters, school Principal Jorge Hernandez wrote that the teachers were fired “for good cause in accordance with the terms of the Lay Teacher Agreement you signed for this academic year.” He added, “Based upon your disclosures to me during our meeting of Nov. 20, 2013, it was determined you were in violation of the terms of your contract.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, Terrence Donilon, issued 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. This is important so as to be consistent in following the school’s responsibility to live by the core principles of a Catholic education.”

[Lawrence Eagle-Tribune]

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