Teacher fire for getting pregnant on Today

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by ecsmom, Jun 14, 2010.

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  1. HMM

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    Jun 14, 2010

    I'm really at a loss to understand how anyone could be offended by this song/video...let alone 'extremely offended'.:confused:

    A lot of things must offend you then.
     
  2. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Well take offense if you want to, but it was not aimed at you at all I found the humor in the story in fact I find humor in all parts of life.
    it is said that he who finds humor with the lord is blessed twice
    In fact I thought your argument Had a lot of merit.
     
  3. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I am usually only offended by atheists but you cannot tell me that there is not an agenda behind putting a link to a song where a mother is judged by the school for immoral acts. That just takes the civil spirit out of the conversation. No one is judging her on getting pregnant. She signed a contract or agreed to work for a school that takes a literal interpretation of the bible and then admits to getting pregnant before marriage. Irish Dave has continued to throw bible verses out about being Christian and then posts a link to a song that is judging and you wonder how I can be offended. I do not want anyone teaching my children that cannot abide by a morality clause. There is nothing wrong with that. If you don't want to abide by it then teach somewhere else.
     
  4. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Wow I never thought that asking questions was making light of Christianity?
    I am just trying to be an Intellectual Christian.
     
  5. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 14, 2010

    I did preface it with
    levity |ˈlevətē|
    noun
    humor or frivolity, esp. the treatment of a serious matter with humor

    levity
    noun
    without some occasional levity, the working environment is no better than a sweatshop: lightheartedness, high spirits, vivacity, liveliness, cheerfulness, cheeriness, humor, gaiety, fun, jocularity, hilarity, frivolity, amusement, mirth, laughter, merriment, glee, comedy, wit, wittiness, jollity, joviality
     
  6. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 14, 2010

    Wow we are already in Debates & Marathon Threads
    Some one took umbrage ...................

     
  7. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jun 14, 2010

    Well Dave, it is a good thing that it is in the Debates because I have to go to the doctor tomorrow so I will not be home all day tomorrow to argue about the morality of Christianity.
     
  8. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 14, 2010

    Chemteach I hope the doctor visit comes out well
     
  9. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Thanks--I am going back and forth between the dentist and the neurologist. I have TMJ problems that are causing migraines and migraines that are causing TMJ problems. Nothing is really getting accomplished except that in addition to paying $15,000 a year tuition to send my own child to private school, I am also paying a sizable chunk of the private school tuition for both my dentist and neurologist. (Had to keep the post on topic!!)
     
  10. HMM

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    And why would that be?

    There could be, but I still don't see how that can be taken as offensive.

    I think people get offended about the wrong things....

    I think this sums up how I feel about being offended

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaJelU29jeI
     
  11. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Getting fired? The negative press this will get her that could follow her forever? Those are consequences I had in mind.
     
  12. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Actually being offended by atheists was not true but I like to argue and apparently so do you. I just think that Harper Valley PTA made it sound like anyone who believes she is wrong is being judgmental of her. As a matter of fact had she not admitted to it, I would say that the school had no right to invoke a morality clause. What I have not understood is that if I do not have a problem signing a contract with a morality clause, then why is that wrong? I am not being controlled by anyone because if I did not want to do it then I would go and teach at another school. As far as the video you posted, I am not very familiar with the speaker but in looking him up there are probably very few of his ideas that I would agree with. I do not believe that God actually created the Universe in 7 days but I do believe that he created everything. In response to your earlier comment, I do know what an atheist and one day you and I will find out which one of us is correct but I do hope and pray that it is not anytime soon for either of us.
     
  13. TeacherShelly

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    Wait, which adultress? The consequences in the OT bible were being stoned to death; plus it's against one of the 10 Commandments, so hell would be the consequence.

    If we're talking about the subject of the article, she is fired.

    What are we talking about? :confused:
     
  14. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jun 14, 2010

    The teacher from the OP's question.
     
  15. Jem

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    Jun 15, 2010

    It has been my experience that private schools can fire you for anything, clause or no clause. It happened to me, and I never got a reason. At least this woman KNOWS why she was dismissed. Private school contracts are often at-will, and I don't think teachers realize how fast they can be terminated. I'm EXTREMELY aware of that now, and it has caused me to take the legality of my job much more seriously.

    In addition, I was raised Christian and it was always imparted on me that I should wait until marriage. I'll admit I did not, but I always carried the knowledge that I was going against the teachings and my upbringing. If you are raised with that belief, or even told that is how you are expected to act, you KNOW when you are not following 'the rules'. I have no doubt she knew in her heart that she was wrong, whether she agreed with the clause to begin with or not. I have no doubt that as she got into that bed (or backseat... or where ever...), that the clause made a momentary visit to her mind. And I'm thinking that there is a tiny bit of pride and shame fueling this campaign. Although if it were me, I would never broadcast this behavior on national tv-how tacky.
     
  16. Cerek

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    Jun 15, 2010

    WOW! This thread took off like a rocket! I don't want to make another one of my mega-posts, but I do have a lot of points I want to address

    First and foremost, the issue of an actual contract seems to be in question. Jaretta and her husband insist she did not sign a contract, but the first article linked indicated she did. If she did sign a contract and violated one of the conditions (morality clause), then the school has just cause for termination. Whether you agree with morality clauses in a contract or not is a moot point in this case. She would have agreed to the rules and then broken the rules, so she would have to accept the consequences.

    Whether a contract was signed or not, the application she filled out did address the morality issue, albeit rather ambiguously. Even though the application doesn't address any specific act of moral turpitude, Jaretta herself admits she "didn't think the school would judge it {pre-marital sex} so harshly". So there is a direct implication that she knew the pre-marital sex was a violation of the morality issue on the application, but just didn't think the school would actually enforce it.

    While the morality clause on the application is very general and ambiguous, it is common knowledge - even among non-believers - that the Holy Bible considers fornication (pre-marital sex) to be a sin. Jaretta's own comments above suggests she knew this as well.

    I don't think race was an issue in this incident, but the article on the Today Show website suggests the school might have had a different ulterior motive; not paying for the maternity leave.

    Here is the relevant excerpt from the Today Show article

    "In April 2009, Hamilton and Treftz went together to Ennis and told him she would be taking maternity leave in the fall. She says Ennis first complained that it was difficult for the school to cover women on maternity leave."

    So it seems the moral turpitude might be a smokescreen after all, but not for the reason previously suspected.

    Finally, while I fully support the right of a private, Christian school to terminate a teacher for violating a morality clause (even a generalized one), I do not support the school's right to violate the teacher's privacy by calling all the parent's and telling them why the teacher was fired.

    While Jaretta may not get her job at the Christian school back, I think there is a chance she will get some punitive damages from them for the violation of confidentiality.
     
  17. Cerek

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    Now for the issue of teachers being held to a "higher standard" of conduct in general.

    I think we can ALL agree that we are, indeed, expected to hold ourselves to this higher degree of personal conduct - especially in public. When a school can fire a teacher because someone ELSE posted a picture of a stripper at a bachelorette party and happened to get the teacher in the photo frame, there can be no question teachers are expected to avoid even the appearance of misconduct.

    We are leaders in the community and have a great responsibility to the youth of our community, so we have an obligation to provide a good role model for the children in our actions, words and deeds.

    Also, ANY job can have informal or unwritten restrictions they expect their employees to follow, as long as those restrictions could be considered common sense. I worked at McDonald's during my college years. One of our employees was reprimanded by the owners when they learned she had stopped at Hardee's to eat while wearing her McDonald's uniform. I was young and thought I knew a lot more than I do now and I disagreed fiercely with this, since the employee was on her own time. My father explained that, the girl had every right to eat at Hardee's if she wanted to, but when she went in wearing her uniform, she was creating negative publicity for her employer. I didn't agree then, but I do now.

    I also worked at a local hospital for several years. The hospital had been through some difficult years with bad administrators and unprofessional doctors, so it earned a rather bad reputation for awhile. I often heard people talk badly about the hospital (even after the admin and professional staff had changed). That was their right, but if I had joined in on the bashing, my boss would have had every right to reprimand - and perhaps even fire - me for insubordination.

    Whether specifically stated or not, I think it is reasonable to believe ANY applicant to a private Christian school would know certain behavior would be unacceptable and constitute possible grounds for termination. To act and claim otherwise is naive' at best and deceitful at worst.
     
  18. HMM

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    I'm a little surprised by that (considering that Professor Dawkins is the sworn enemy of all Christians;))

    so you believe in a type of OEC?

    I've always liked this...

    "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. ” —Richard Dawkins
     
  19. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jun 15, 2010

    Why should I bother to listen to enemies of Christians? I am very comfortable with my beliefs so that is garbage to me. I do not need to listen to other points of view because I know that God or some type of higher power exists. I do not think that any of us (Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc) are totally correct but we are all on a trek of greater understanding through our life on Earth. I believe that we make our own hell and heaven. I believe that anyone can get into heaven (even an atheist). The God that I believe in is a forgiving God and he does not hold grudges so neither do I. I try to live my life like my God would want me to. Everyone has their own God and is accountable to that God. So neither you nor an idiot like Dawkins who thinks that he is correct about everything is going to change my mind or my beliefs. As far as evolution goes, I believe in a theistic evolution. God planted that original seed (not literally a seed) and we evolved from that.

    As far as the original topic--There are so many ifs in this story. My big thing is that she admitted it to the principal. I do feel that this woman is being taken advantage of because it is a small school and the principal did not want to have to have a fill in for a maternity leave. I think they are both wrong. She knew the type of school she was working for.

    I still say there is nothing wrong with a morality clause in a contract for a private school. There is nothing controlling about it if you live your life according to the clause and you understand the clause. Do I believe there is no premarital sex among private school teachers or there are no homosexual teachers in private school? No I do not but at least be a role model in public. Personally I could not do it because I would feel like I was living a lie but then again I have already admitted I was a virgin when I got married.

    Hope everyone has a good day because I am off to the neurologist because he has 2 young children and needs to make his private school payments. Later this week, it is the dentist so he can pay for his daughter's private school.
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 15, 2010

    :yeahthat:

    Of course there is nothing wrong with a morality clause in a contract for a private school. This is the other side of "separation of church and state".

    Christians: We want schools to reinforce the values/morals we teach our children and we want our children to be able to pray in school.

    Society: You can't force your values on other kids in the public school system. That violates separation of church and state. If you want a school that teaches religious values, you need to go to a private school.

    Christians: Alright. We want the teachers and staff at our private school to follow and model the same morals and values they are teaching our children.

    Society: You can't force your values on the teachers, even if it IS a private school. The school can still be governed by the state.

    Nope, sorry, that also violates separation of church and state.


    *PS - I hope all goes well with your appointments this week, chemteach.
     
  21. HMM

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    This has nothing whatsoever to do with the separation of church and state.

    Like I posted before, what if I start a company that requires employees to sign a morality clause before employment. (contrary to popular belief religion does not own morality) If I open my company in an impoverished area I will get people so desperate for work that in order to take care of their families they would be essentially forced to obey my demands.
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Jun 15, 2010

    OK--here goes my two cents.
    1st--when I first started looking for jobs, I interviewed with two private christian schools' principals. One excepted me to take Mass. I am Southern Baptist and didn't feel comfortable with that, so I told him thank you for your time, but I can't agree to that. The other expected me to sign away the right to drink, smoke, and to watch any movie that was rated R. While I don't do those things normally, I have been known to go out with friends and get one drink over dinner. I didn't know if I could live by those guidelines. I kindly rejected their offer of a job.

    I choose to ask the questions needed to find out if I was a fit for the schools.


    2nd point--If as a parent I want to choose to send my child to a school that states that they reflect my values, then they need to continue to support those values.


    I can't believe that this teacher didn't know that when her pregnancy became knowledge that she wouldn't have problems. She knew the environment she taught in, and she choose to work there. I agree with the school.


    I am not looking for a debate.


    By the way, I signed a morality clause my first ten years teaching in a PUBLIC school.
     
  23. Cerek

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    Yes, it does. Critics just don't like the fact that the coin actually has two sides. If you want to have open prayer or teach religious values in school, it cannot be done in a public school, so it must be done in a private school. That means these schools can set their own curriculum and standards.

    Public schools cannot demand their teachers adhere to specific religious morals, but a private school, operated or sponsored by a church or religious organization, certainly does have the right to require their teachers to adhere to the values and morals of that church or organization, since they are expected to be models of the values they are teaching.

    Also, every school (public and private) holds their employees to a specific code of conduct. Don't think so? Try getting a DWI and see how the principal and superintendent react.

    We've seen stories on here of teachers being fired just for being included in photos where other people were participating in morally grey behavior (watching a stripper or drinking a beer).

    Uhm....anytime you take a job, you are essentially forced to obey the employer's demands. That's part of having a job.

    Most employers (and all school districts) require a criminal background check and drug test of every applicant. That could be interpreted as an implied moral clause.

    What if I like to get stoned on the weekend, but don't smoke when I'm at work (or before my shift). If I'm not coming to work impaired, it shouldn't matter what I do on my own time, but a positive drug test is grounds for dismissal with almost any employer. Or what if I have a doctor's prescription to use marijuana for treatment of a medical condition? Chances are, the employer will still fire me if my drug test comes back positive.

    Your hypothetical example is only valid if you are the ONLY conceivable option for the people in that area, which isn't realistic. If there is any OTHER option - including unemployment or welfare benefits - then they are not forced to work for you and are not forced to abide by your moral clause.

    Even though you don't seem to like it, the fact is that you do have the right, as an employer, to include a morality clause in your application or contract if you feel it is relevant to your business.
     
  24. 3Sons

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    Exactly. It is not separation of church and state that allows private schools to do this.

    This in fact DOES occur in private communities. The stretches of "morality" can include everything from restrictions on a married couple holding hands outside to having a vehicle with lettering on it parked in your driveway (unless it's someone providing a service to you) to not keeping your lawn furniture on your lawn past a certain time. All enforced by contract law, and they can kick you out if you don't comply, and it's unambiguously legal.

    I'd also add that Waldorf schools also make rules for the families of students, including limiting them from owning a television (Waldorf schools are pseudo-religious, but their restrictions on television don't come from religion).

    I'd point out that if she didn't sign a contract and is thus an at-will employee, it doesn't make her job any safer but she still may have an action if the firing was really for a prohibited reason, such as racial discrimination or an attempt to make an end-run around maternity leave. The court could quite easily come out that while morality clauses are legal (which it would have to), that she still has a cause of action for unjust firing.

    Note that Cerek's implied, "of course she would have known" that her actions were immoral is a possible argument and might work, especially if the area really is very conservative. A lot of that would depend on information we don't have here.
     
  25. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Uh, actually it's just contract law, Cerek. Any private school can put anything in their morality clause that they want. A secular private school, unaffiliated with any religion, could set up a morality clause in their contract. Your own post shows this, and is pretty much exactly correct (except for the identification of the 1st amendment as what allows this).

    HMM is essentially agreeing with you, and just pointing out possible ramifications. You bring up examples of illegal behavior such as DWI's or smoking, but it doesn't have to be. A private organization could impose any conceivable rules as "morality". It could restrict its employees from owning yellow or red cars if it wanted.

    In fact, employers could even change the rules later. HMM could wake up one morning and decide all his current employees weren't allowed to own red cars, and force all of them to sell theirs to maintain their jobs.

    Well, yes, we've seen those stories, but I think we might also consider those controversial at best.
     
  26. Cerek

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    That's a valid argument, but I felt my implication was a little more direct (maybe it wasn't).

    My intended implication wasn't that she would have known (inviting the possibility for doubt), but rather that she DID know and just didn't think the school would actually enforce it.

    Even though the morality clause on the application is rather broad and generic, Jaretta stated in the interview "I didn't think they would judge it so harshly". That doesn't sound like "Gee I didn't know that was wrong". Instead it sounds like "I didn't think they were really serious about it."

    It's like the rule I had in my classroom about not using pens. I told my students this rule several times, but they didn't think I was really serious until I handed two papers back marked with a "0" and made the students do the work again.

    I think it is reasonable (and inherently implied) that any Christian school would frown upon the practice of pre-marital sex and consider it possible grounds for termination. For a (presumably) Christian teacher at a Christian school to say "Well, gosh, I didn't KNOW the school disapproved of pre-marital sex" simply sounds too naive' to be plausible.
     
  27. Irishdave

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    Jun 15, 2010

    chemteach55 how did your appointment go?
     
  28. 3Sons

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    Any Christian school would frown on any sinful act, which would be classified as immoral.

    So, are the schools justified in firing anyone who admits to any sin? Christianity has a number of sins which I was under the impression were difficult to avoid, including some thought crimes. I have even read that Christianity itself suggests that it's not possible (for mortals, anyway) to lead a sinless life.
     
  29. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jun 15, 2010

    Thanks to all who ask--the neurologist appt went fine. Of course since I do not have a migraine at this time the appointment was almost mute. My last MRI went great and he refilled my meds. I just love paying $300 (co-pay and insurance) for a 3 minute doctors appointment.

    I think the thing that we all need to take away from this discussion (since it will end very soon) is to know what you are signing. I was a paralegal for several years and so many people would come in after signing a contract and say that they did not understand what they were signing. It is a contract and it is normally not written for the protection of the person signing it but for the protection of the person getting it signed. I have enjoyed this conversation even if I did get aggravated several times.

    In closing, I need to make a public apology to Dave--I was being and overly sensitive female (as my husband calls it) last night and was picking on males!! Sorry Dave!
     
  30. Cerek

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    Yes, it is impossible for mortals to lead a completely sinless life, according to the Bible. While all sins are the same in the eyes of God (telling a lie is just as much a sin as adultery), mankind does make distinctions on the severity or degree of sin in society.

    Christian schools don't expect their teachers to lead perfect lives (I doubt any teacher would be fired for telling a lie), but they do expect them to lead by example and follow Christian virtues as closely as possible.

    It may be impossible to avoid all sins, but there are some sins that CAN be avoided. Fornication and adultery are the two most obvious examples. We each have the capacity to resist or avoid having sex before marriage or sex outside the marriage. We each have the capacity to resist or avoid public drunkenness, abusive language or actions and a myriad of other impulses or desires we may face.

    Some actions (such as telling a lie or cursing), may not carry a severe penalty from the school. Others, such as fornication or drunkenness, create a negative image of the teacher's character and of the school, so the school would be justified in firing a teacher that admitted to these actions.
     
  31. Irishdave

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    Jun 15, 2010

    Well thank you. You have a very smart husband :D
     
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