I had some bad teachers and some nasty teachers, during my school career, and there was one teacher whom everybody strove not to be alone with or near.
But every teacher I ever had in the lower elementary grades was a person of high moral character and impeccable life. They showed their love for their students and their profession by living lives that were worthy of both. Their own personal lives never were allowed to intrude or worry the kids in their classes. Those teachers were second in kids’ esteem only to their own parents, and they strode like serene demigoddesses through the hallways of our minds.
I still remember the shock and horror I felt when I heard, years later, that one of these beloved ladies had gotten divorced. It seemed impossible and horrendous, as if something in the world had broken and could never be fixed. How could such a thing even happen? How could an X-grade teacher not be the perfect woman, beloved by all and worshipped by her spouse? How could one of the teachers who knew _everything_ not know how to stay together and happy? Surely this meant that everybody would get divorced! Even my parents! It was the sort of event that rocks a young person’s ideas about life and the world.
And that was in public school.
When someone’s a teacher in a Catholic school, he or she is pretty much a lay substitute for a priest, a religious brother, a religious sister, or a cloistered nun. They know that going in. They are supposed to be a good model of how adult laypeople follow Christ faithfully, not a bad model of public scandal. They are supposed to teach kids to look hard at their own actions and motives, and demand better of themselves than the kids. They know the weight of anti-Catholicism, and how hard Catholic schools have always had it. They know that they have to be not just darned good, but paragons to everyone, if they want to escape rumors of pedophilia or brutality, or even pagan blood sacrifice and worship of idols.
So yeah, when teachers in Catholic school fail, they usually fail on the side of trying to hide their sins and be sneaky, or of trying to be overly saintly (in strictness or gentleness).
So what I really don’t understand is why this woman would fight so hard to stick around at Ascension, publicizing her sins all over the Internet and in front of her poor students’ little faces, instead of just building a new life somewhere for herself and her kid. It shows a lack of self-respect, as well as a wish to continue making her students suffer agonies of embarrassment, worry, and disillusionment. She must really hate them, to drag those kids’ image of her through the dirt. (Either that, or her own self-hatred demands that everybody validate her actions, instead of her having to do the repenting of them first and the making amends for them afterward.)
The other thing here is that this woman apparently applied to get hired at a Catholic school, and signed on, while knowing that she’d been sleeping around with somebody, or indeed while still doing the sleeping around. You don’t apply in July and find out you’re pregnant in the fall without some kind of opportunity to reflect on your behavior, or without having a chance to bow out gracefully from a job that’s obviously a bad fit for what you want to do after school.
It is admirable and sensible of this woman to carry her twin children to term, and not to consider anything less. I’m sure the archdiocese and Ascension offered her some opportunities for other gainful work; if they didn’t, that stinks. (Though she was obviously lying to them about her own character and loyalty to the school’s ideals, so they pretty much owed her nothing.) But if they only offered her opportunities away from Catholic schools, that’s sensible and right. There’s no such thing as “working in the background” at a school. The kids, the parents, and the teachers all yak about each others’ doings, and there are no real secrets.
There’s also no profit margin in a Catholic school. Paying her full-time money for a volunteer or part-timer’s job would be a serious sacrifice for the school, and probably would cause other people to get let go.
Also, it is foolish to expect that there will never be any consequences to flaunting mortal sins in public, especially if you work at a parochial school. If a male teacher ever went into a fit of screaming rage in full view of all the schoolkids during recess, he’d be doing a little walk out to the parking lot accompanied by security. If a male teacher were to come into school coated in lipstick kisses and with his fly open, he’d also be invited to find employment opportunities elsewhere.
Parochial school teaching contracts are designed to allow easier firing of staff than at public schools, exactly in order to safeguard kids from teachers with no sense.
I hate to be harsh here. But when this lady found herself in a dreadful hole, she didn’t just keep digging. She rented a backhoe and started down to China. She’s not helping herself or anyone else with such behavior.
UPDATE: The archdiocese’s response, and her lawyer’s response. Also, there’s note of two similar cases, one in Cincy and one elsewhere.