EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 8, 2013

In love, pregnant and fired

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


“Lawrence Catholic Academy is committed to providing a Catholic faith-based education as part of an exceptional overall experience. Our teachers sign an agreement to adhere to the teachings and principles of the Catholic Church, among many other criteria essential for employment. When that contract is violated, it is the school’s responsibility to make a determination as to whether a member of the staff can remain based on the facts of the matter,” according to the statement issued by Terrence Donilon, Archdiocese of Boston spokesman.

“This is important so as to be consistent in following the school’s responsibility to live by the core principles of a Catholic education,” the statement concluded.

Lawrence Catholic Academy was formed in 2010 when St. Patrick’s and Our Lady of Good Counsel schools merged.

On its Web page, the school describes itself as “a community of believers who strive to permeate the school with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. We, as a faith community, have accepted the mandate of Jesus Christ to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ In conjunction with the family and the Catholic Church community, we foster the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of the whole child.”

A copy of the lay teacher agreement signed by both Houlihan and Ferland indicates Lawrence Catholic Academy teachers must act professionally and in a “diligent, energetic, competent and ethical manner.”

And whether they hire Catholic teachers or not, Lawrence Catholic Academy “retains the right to operate within the philosophy of Catholic education and to hire teachers who demonstrate an ability to develop and maintain a Catholic School Faith Community, to improve academic achievement and to foster Catholic Faith formation,” according to a copy of the agreement provided by Houlihan.

Houlihan and Ferland are both Catholics, which has deepened their hurt over their treatment, they said.

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