Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Malicious modeling?

CNN.com reports on a Catholic school who has fired a preschool teacher for being unmarried and pregnant. The school claims that they are simply "following the personnel handbook," where teachers are "expected to convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions." Of course, one bit of irony about this situation is that if Ms. McCusker had decided to terminate her pregnancy, she would have violated Church doctrine...and yet saved her job. Exactly what sort of role modeling does the school have in mind? Ms. McCusker is truly caught between a rock and a hard place.

Lawyers for the fired teacher argue that the rules themselves are unjust. After all, how does the school district monitor male teachers' sexual habits? This is another example of inequitable treatment of women in the guise of observance of religious tenets.


Anonymous said...

what kind of an example does this teacher, a single woman getting pregnant, set students? didn't she realize she was in a school where morality is stressed?

Toby Schonfeld said...

The problem with the previous comment (notably submitted anonymously) is that it assumes that choosing to be a single parent is necessarily immoral. First of all, it may not have been the woman's choice to get pregnant in the first place; it takes two to tango, as they say, and the nature of the encounter may have been such that the woman had little say in the matter.

Regardless, it is not obvious that her choice to continue, rather than terminate, the pregnancy was immoral. We have set up significant barriers in society that make it difficult for single parents to succeed, and that is perhaps a comment on our warped sense of morality.

It is a separate issue that her school was religiously affiliated and as a result had its own set of standards. The point of the post, however, was to demonstrate that these standards are unnecessarily burdensome towards women (who, incidentally, were likely not part of the power structure that set the guidelines in the first place). It is our responsibility to be aware of these double standards and actively work to combat them.

Anonymous said...

Her fight is against nature, not this school.

(anonymous because I have no blogger acct)