Montana resident Shaela Evenson was a teacher at Butte Central Grade School, instructing sixth through eighth grade students in literature and physical education for nearly a decade. However, the Helena Diocese, which oversees the Catholic school, dismissed her last month. Why? Because, as The Montana Standard reports, Ms. Evenson is pregnant but not married.
Patrick Haggarty, Superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, told the Standard, “Shaela made a willful decision to violate the terms of her contract. This happened as a result of her decision to violate the terms of her employment contract, and in so doing she’s disqualified from teaching at a Catholic school. It’s a sensitive issue and it’s unfortunate all around.”
Ms. Evenson isn’t going to take the firing without a fight. KXLF Channel 4 News spoke with an attorney the teacher has hired, Cincinnati-based Brian Butler. Butler told the station that his client, “plans to file a discrimination charge with the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission alleging the school violated her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Evenson’s ability as an educator isn’t under question. Principal Kerrie Hellyer told the Standard that she couldn’t answer questions but did note that Shaela was, “an excellent teacher.” That doesn’t matter, apparently. Superintendent Haggarty said, “…Not only do we teach [the sacrament of marriage] to the children kindergarten through 12th grade, but we’re held to that standard as well.”