Parents at a Catholic school in Miami said they were astounded that administrators had fired a first-grade teacher just days after she married her girlfriend, and now some of the teacher’s supporters on the faculty are scared that the school will retaliate against them as well.
The teacher, Jocelyn Morffi, was by all accounts one of the most popular educators at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Miami, where she taught for nearly seven years.
“I consider her the Mother Teresa of teachers,” Samantha Mills, a parent whose son was in Morffi’s class last year, said Monday.
But on Feb. 8, Mills and other parents at the school received an email from the principal saying that the school had made a “difficult and necessary decision,” and that Morffi would no longer be teaching at the school. The email was shared with The New York Times.
She was fired just days after marrying her girlfriend of about two years.
On Friday, Morffi spoke out in a statement on Instagram.
“This weekend I married the love of my life and unfortunately I was terminated from my job as a result,” she wrote in the post. “In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner.”
Mary Ross Agosta, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Miami, said in an email on Monday that Morffi was fired because she violated a contract stipulating that teachers must abide by Catholic teachings and traditions.
She declined to say whether Morffi had been fired for marrying a woman, noting that it was “a personnel issue.”
Four teachers attended the wedding, one of them told The Times on Wednesday. She asked not to be named out of fear for her career.
After Morffi was fired, the teacher said, they were called into a meeting with school officials. She said they were warned that if they wanted to continue working for the school, they could not post pictures or attend events that would be considered supportive of same-sex marriage.
The human resources representative at the meeting “didn’t straight out say you’ll be fired if you do, but that’s what she led us to believe,” the teacher said, adding that she was disappointed about how the situation was handled.
When asked about the meeting between teachers and school officials, Agosta, the archdiocese spokeswoman, said in an email on Wednesday that the details were “personnel-related and not for publication.”