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Unmarried teacher sues Catholic school for firing her because of her pregnancy

Cheryl Kahla
Feb 05, 2019
05:24 P.M.
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An unmarried teacher was fired from her post at a Catholic school because she fell pregnant. She is now suing the school.

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A pregnant Pennsylvania teacher alleges that she was fired from her Catholic school job for falling pregnant while unmarried. She claims the diocese was upset that she wasn't married.

Naiad Reich filed a breach of contract suit on Friday in Northumberland County against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.

Classroom filled with learners | Shutterstock

Classroom filled with learners | Shutterstock

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Not only is she suing the diocese, but she is also requesting a permanent injunction to reinstate her as a teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School in Coal Township.

Reich is not Catholic and argues that her choices outside of school do not impact her ability to teach students.

She revealed she notified the diocese that she and her boyfriend were expecting a baby in June. She also informed the school that they had no plans to marry in the near future.

Pregnant school teacher | Shutterstock

Pregnant school teacher | Shutterstock

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The revelation is apparently what led to her being fired. The controversial decision to dismiss her shocked Reich and the school board.

A member of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School Board agreed with Reich's stance on the matter.

He reached out and helped Reich secure an attorney to put legal pressure on the school and the diocese to reinstate her immediately.

Classroom with sunshine streaming in | Shutterstock

Classroom with sunshine streaming in | Shutterstock

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"We all know there has been an injustice and mistake," Tony Varano, the school board member who took Reich's side, said on Monday.

Reich was apparently fired for violating the Catholic school's morality clause. Varano argues that if the morality clause was being enforced many of the other teachers would also be terminated.

He also claims the school first stated the termination was the pregnancy, but that it was later changed to cohabitating.

Pregnant teacher at work | Shutterstock

Pregnant teacher at work | Shutterstock

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Varano says nearly all 16 school board members have indicated to him they want Reich reinstated.

Apparently, the only board members who did not support reinstating Reich were the three priests and two sisters on the board.

The board members were also upset that the school Principal Mary Anne Bednar failed to consult them prior to the decision.

Pregnant teacher planning lessons | Shutterstock

Pregnant teacher planning lessons | Shutterstock

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The Harrisburg Diocese made the final decision to terminate her employment. The diocese insists it is in accordance with its charge to handle employment of teachers and staff.

According to the school's charter, the board's responsibilities include executive management, budget, and fundraising.

"I don't think anyone wants a legal fight," Varano said. "She wants to be reinstated. If she is reinstated all will be forgiven and forgotten. This should be a wonderful time in Reich's life. Everyone should be celebrating the pending birth of a child. Why put her through this stress on her body?"

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