If you have been following the news, then you have probably heard of a young unmarried teacher being fired from her job due to engaging in premarital sex. And if you haven’t heard, let me rehash.
Terri James, 29, a teacher at San Diego Christian College, located in Southern California, admits to signing a two-page contract that entailed all of her responsibilities as a teacher and restrictions that the school requires all staff to follow.
One piece of the contract that James had signed was agreeing not to engage in “sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex,” according to Huffington Post.
James, unmarried, became pregnant, and in time, as James began to show signs of her pregnancy, her supervisor called her into the office to receive confirmation that she was, in fact, pregnant. James was fired on the spot, and she is now suing the school.
“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me and acted completely un-Christlike; they made more of a business decision than showing God’s love,” James said in a statement on Daily News.
I do agree with James, but as difficult as it is to say though, I feel the school had to stick to their contract. If a contract isn’t enforced, what are the reasons for creating such a contract?
I personally believe if I were to see James unmarried and pregnant, I would not be able to take away her form of income during this change in her life; I would want to help in any way I could. But, alas, that is where the contract gets in the way. A contract needs to be enforced, especially when involving leaders, teachers and authorities.
But here is where things take a twist that I believe is bizarre and unacceptable.
Just a short time after James had to leave the building directly following her dismissal, the administration offered her position at the college to James’s then fiancé, now husband.
Wait, excuse me? Is that fair?
When a woman gets pregnant, she can only wear an oversized sweatshirt for so long before suspicions will arise. Then, the questions start. Who is the father? Was she married? And if the answers are not in line with what the questioners believe, then judgment follows.
But what does it look like for a man when he gets a woman pregnant? He obviously doesn’t have any way of “showing.” He doesn’t have to take responsibility if he doesn’t want to. And no one will ever know if a man has engaged in premarital sex or if he is waiting until marriage.
Because there is no physical proof of a man having premarital sex, does that mean, in the school’s eyes, he hasn’t?
The school was aware that he had engaged in premarital sex also, so how is this justifiable?
James’s fiancé turned the job down.
The school has not commented much, leaving people to interpret its actions on their own. Did they offer the fiancé the position so that they, as a future family, would still have a source of income? Did they feel they made a mistake in firing James? Or do they simply not see anything wrong with a man having premarital sex?
I would be humiliated, just as James is, for having to be put through all of this. It is given that the school whose contract she signed and broke had strong beliefs, but is the school going to start asking prospective teachers if they have engaged in this activity? I believe that is innapropriate and disrespectful.
Are there separate contracts for men and women? I wonder if James hadn’t gotten pregnant but the school had news of her premarital decisions whether would they still would fire her due to their being no real proof.
I understand why the contact was made to begin with. Many other schools like San Diego Christian College require their students to sign contracts similar to those the teachers and staff do.
“In the college’s ‘community covenant,’ employees and students agree to stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco,” women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred told TODAY. “They are also required to abstain from “abusive anger, malice, jealousy, lust, sexually immoral behavior including premarital sex, adultery, pornography and homosexuality.”
The school’s intentions are to have their teachers and faculty be Christian role models for their students. Granted, everyone stumbles now and then, which is what makes us perfectly imperfect humans.
To me, hearing this story repeatedly on the news just made one thing more clear to me: James did break her contract, but even more, the school failed to follow the one they made.
Offering a position to a man they already knew did not follow the contract their school goes by just blows my mind. Where are moral justifications there?
If I could write the ending for James’s story, I would hope she finds a job where her employers knows her situation, and whether they agree with her or not, may display understanding and grace to walk with her through this changing part of her life.