EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 8, 2013

In love, pregnant and fired

Lawrence Catholic Academy teachers terminated after revealing out-of-wedlock pregnancy


Raised in Lawrence, Ferland attended Central Catholic High School, Salem State University and then earned her master’s degree at the University of New England. She became a teacher, she said, because she loves working with children and she likes teaching writing. She was in her third year of teaching at Lawrence Catholic Academy.

Houlihan grew up in Rhode Island. He attended Tilton Preparatory School in Tilton, N.H., and Salve Regina University and earned his master’s degree at Seton Hall University in Pennsylvania. He has nine years teaching experience, and this was his fourth year teaching at Lawrence Catholic Academy.

Pointing to his childhood, Houlihan described himself as “a Boys and Girls Club” kid. He said he felt his work at the Lawrence Catholic Academy “was a great way for me to give back. I really enjoyed it.”

The couple is now receiving a small amount of unemployment assistance. But it’s not enough to cover their rent, car payments, student loans and health care. Now uninsured, Houlihan said a refill for a prescription drug he takes cost him $200. Ferland said she applied for Mass Health insurance to cover her pregnancy care.

They are also both grateful for help they are receiving from their families. However, without that support, “We’d be eating in Father Paul’s soup kitchen,” said Houlihan, referring to Cor Unum, the free meal center for St. Patrick’s Church.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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