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Catholic School +Pro Choice Teacher="You are fired!"

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Michele Curay-Cramer says she loved every minute of the 18 months she spent teaching at <a href="http://www.ursuline.org/">Ursuline Academy</a>, an independent Catholic girls school in Wilmington, Delaware. Now, she finds herself out of a job and distraught over what she feels was purely <a href="http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2003/01/29ursulineteacher.html">personal matter.</a>

    It seems that a week ago, Curay-Cramers name appeared in a full page ad in the Wilmington News Journal. The ad was placed by a pro-choice group, Coalition for Choice, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Curay-Cramer was a religion and language arts teacher with the school.

    The schools reaction was swift and sure. First, they offered Curay-Cramer the opportunity to resign. Then, when she refused to resign, they canned her. Its quite simple according to the school. Ursuline is a Catholic institution and follows the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Abortion rights is not currently in the debatable category in the Church. School administrators said that Curay-Cramer should have been aware of the schools core beliefs, especially in this area.

    Was the school in the right in firing her? Before you answer that, what if a pro-prayer in school teacher was fired from a public school, would that be the analogy here?

    Remember though, Curay-Cramer never proposed pro-choice in class.
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    There are many jobs that require its workers to maintain a low profile when it comes to certain issues. The military for years has had standards regarding what its members can and can not do off duty. This doesn't mean one can't belong to a group, but one shouldn't be advertising that fact.

    In this case, I would think she exercised poor judgement in participating in the advertisement.

    I'm more miffed over the fact that the school sent 45 students to a protest/march.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Military is a federal entity though, this is a private institution.
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Leon -- this is not a big deal. If you work for a Catholic institution it is incredibly stupid to publicly say the Catholic Church is wrong on something, which is essentially what she did. She can be in favor of abortions but should keep it private. She must be a moron.

    And a public school teacher who is pro-prayer should not lose his/her job if he/she follows the school policy. If he/she insists on starting each class withh a prayer firing is called for.
  5. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Anyone else see a double standard above, or is it just me?
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Let me follow up before someone thinks I am flaming you. The above statement made by you is a bit unbalanced.

    If a teacher, who is in public school, will be pro-prayer and anti-abortion, even on paper's ad, should not lose her job, why should a Catholic school fire their teacher for the same kind of philosophy?
  7. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    So is a public school (a government entity), so your analogy as presented doesn't wash.

    I believe this is a stupid decision. In this country, private persons and institutions have the right to make stupid decisions, <i>as long as they don't impede on the rights of others</i> and if they do there <i>may</i> be a problem.

    So, is she having a constitutional right messed with here? If so, does it outweight the school's rights.

    On this one I'm not qualified to make a judgement without more research. Id like to see what the arguments for and against get thrown into this thread.
  8. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Even though I believe strongly in a woman's right to choose I started this wanting to back the church. But the more I think about it I don't think anybody has given any employer the right to rescind an employee's free speech outside the work place. If she had taught or even told students in private conversations of her belief I would back the church. The fact the the church has declared this not debatable has no bearing when she is off campus. I hope this does not stand. Does the separation of church and state protect the church from trampling on our freedoms under the Constitution? If they think so we should start taxing religion. Actually I don't understand why we don't but that is the subject of another thread.
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    No offense but I couldn't understand who the above was directed to and why.
  10. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Because you post so damn fast I couldn't get it out in time. :) I've edited to make it clearer.
  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    The above is the crux of the argument and the debate for me.
  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    The comparison was with Military and the Catholic School, hence my quote and the anology.

    Biker made a statement that military can not say things in public, because you sort of sign certain rights away when you join the (federal) military.

    Unless she signed a decree stating she would not place ads in papers? I don't know about that, at least not yet.
  13. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Interesting. I can of course cite many instances of employers firing employees for statments made outside of work. Off the top of my head Al Campanis, the Vice-President of the Dodgers, made comments derogatory against Black Americans and was promptly fired. John Rocker the pitcher, while not an employee but a independant contractor I believe, suffered from saying what he thought the truth about N.Y. in a Sports Illustrated interview. This doesn't invalidate your arguments, just something for you guys to think about.
  14. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    The article did not mention any direct criticism of the church's beliefs by the teacher. The article did not mention that the teachers job was next to her name. So I absolutely fail to see how anybody outside the school would connect the teacher's beliefs with her job.

    So this is not about her being public. This is about her believing differently. Time for the church to wake up. This is not a 3rd world republic still recognizing the Catholic church as having equal power as the state. This is not some country where catholic hierarchy can get away with crimes the rest of us would go to prison for. Oh, wait, I am wrong.

    I know it is a stretch, but is this kind of behavior what we want? Is this why Boston clergy can aid and abet and walk around free? It is time for this crap to stop. Answer to your god when you meet him/her/it. In this country we have laws that are not trumped by your commandments.
  15. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    InsAgt, both your examples are instances where the speaker was only being quoted because of the job he held. In this case there was nothing that I read that connected the teacher in the ad to the school. The school was not punishing speech, they were punishing beliefs.
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Shiney said:

    "So I absolutely fail to see how anybody outside the school would connect the teacher's beliefs with her job."

    You must be going blind, my friend.

    Any of here students or their parents reading the ad would be likely to recognize her name and know that she was supporting something opposed by their church.
  17. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Robert, you will have to be a little clearer. Why does knowing someone disagrees with you give you the right to fire them? You supported my position. She was fired for not believing their way, not for bringing discredit which is the only reason I would have supported them. Again, church beliefs do not trump the Constitution.
  18. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    We would need to know if she could be terminated without cause in her contract. If so, there's not much she could do I imagine.
  19. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Rocker is a sports figure. Among other weird things they have to stand up for the National Anthem, it's in their contract.

    I also don't think that Atlanta fired him for his views.
  20. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    As much as I do not like private schools or organized religion, I really don't care if they fired the woman. If her personal beliefs go against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, then it only makes sense that they do not want her as a teacher.

    Ethics, your analogy doesn't really apply because, as far as I know, private schools can do whatever they want. If the Boy Scouts of America can fire atheists and gays, then why can't a Catholic school fire a heathen teacher? This woman must feel very strongly about her position on Roe v. Wade, and it is unfortunate that she decided to teach in a Catholic school.

    Interestingly, this reminds me of my student teaching I did in Spring 1997. My cooperating teacher was a known lesbian(even students knew), smoked dope(my sister played softball with her in a league and knows much about her) and was definitely pro-choice(we had a conversation about it once). Knowing all of these things, I am very surprised that the administrators at that Catholic school didn't seem to care. As if all of those things weren't enough, she is an atheist!

    To the best of my knowledge, she still teaches there and has been since the '80s. Oh yeah, I almost forgot...she was a major bitch to me. We didn't really get a long at all. ;)

    I don't like Catholic schools, but I think the law may be on their side with regards to this issue. They can kick anyone out of their little clubs anytime they want.

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