A first-grade teacher has allegedly been fired from her seven-year post at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami after posting on social media about her same-sex marriage.
Jocelyn Morffi reportedly returned to the school after her wedding and was asked to resign that afternoon. After refusing, she was subsequently fired the next day, according to the Miami Herald.
Parents were informed about the action through a letter, explaining it was “a difficult and necessary decision” but “she is no longer teaching at our school”. No further details were disclosed.
The Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta told the Miami Herald: “As a teacher in a Catholic school their responsibility is partly for the spiritual growth of the children.
“One has to understand that in any corporation, institution or organization there are policies and procedures and teachings and traditions that are adhered to. If something along the way does not continue to stay within that contract, then we have no other choice.”
The decision has been met with outrage from parents, reported the Miami Herald.
“We were extremely livid. They treated her like a criminal, they didn’t even let her get her things out of her classroom,” Cintia Cini, whose child was in Morffi’s class, told the Miami Herald. Cini and other parents said they didn’t know or care about Morffi’s sexual orientation.
“Our only concern was the way she was with our children, the way she taught our children and this woman by far was one of the best teachers out there.
— Michael Spears (@MichaelKIRO7) February 9, 2018
“We were completely outraged, all of the parents. This teacher in particular has made such a contribution to the school. She never imposes her personal beliefs on others. She just does everything in love. She has a way of teaching that is so amazing,” said Samantha Mills, another parent whose child was in Morffi’s class last year.
Florida does not have a statewide law that protects LGBTQ+ community members form discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. A Miami-Dade County ordinance protecting LGBTQ+ residents from discrimination exempts religious institutions from certain provisions, reported the Miami Herald.
“I think it’s shocking that in this day and age this continues to happen in South Florida,” said Tony Lima, executive director of the South Florida LGBT rights group SAVE. “It’s important to continue educating the community that this kind of stuff happens in this day and age. But it’s even more important to pass comprehensive statewide protections.”
However, a few people have spoken out saying they agree with the school’s decision.
“It’s the Catholic church and they don’t allow lesbians, never mind gay marriage,” one person said. “When you’re working for a business, as in this case, a Catholic-owned school, you have to play by their rules.”