A teacher was fired last week by a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania after administrators told her that her planned pregnancy with her partner violated the school’s “morality clause” since the pair had no intention of getting married in the near future. Naiad Reich, a respected English and creative writing at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School in Coal Township, said she had timed her pregnancy with Matt Graboski so she could give birth in June and avoid having to take maternity leave. But when she informed the school’s principal and administrator, Sister Mary Anne Bednar, of her plans, she said she was surprised to be met with open hostility.
“Her response, honestly, is one that will sit with me for a very long time, because she was very displeased,” she told PennLive. “She said it would be a problem and she had to contact the diocese.”
Roman Catholic Harrisburg Diocese officials agreed with Sister Bednar. Unless Reich and Graboski told them they planned on getting married, they said, she would have to be fired.
“I could have sat in that meeting and said, ‘Sure, I’ll get married,’” she recalled in an interview with The Daily Item. “I could have saved my job. But I was honest with them. I wasn’t going to lie.”
An online petition has since circulated in an attempt to reinstate Reich to her teaching job, arguing that it was unfair and unreasonable of the school to let go of “an amazing teacher … due to her being pregnant and unmarried.” In a statement, diocese officials said that they were “unable to comment on personal matters,” but that all of their employees were required “to follow the teachings, doctrine, and laws of the Catholic Church” irrespective of their personal beliefs.
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