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Teacher Fired From Catholic School Over Her Pregnancy

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Every school board, secular and catholic, has its set of policies and a code of conduct to ensure that the staff and students maintain certain standards of behavior.

For the schools operating under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, every educator is expected to adhere to the "Code of Ethics for the Catholic School Teacher," which "specifies the attitude and the practice of the Catholic school teacher in relation to the student, the parent, the community, and to the profession."

The code also states that an employee who fails to conduct themselves in accordance with the Catholic morality and the rules of the school and the diocese will be dismissed. Staff are to "avoid any embarrassment or scandal to the individual school or the Diocese."

Naiad Reich, a teacher who taught at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School for two years, has recently been fired from her position on the grounds of "immorality."

The policy states:

"If the Professional Employee engages in conduct in or out of the workplace which, in the judgment of the Principal, constitutes serious or public immorality, sacrilege, lewd conduct, endangerment of health or safety, abusive conduct, public scandal or the rejection of, or the holding up to doubt or question of, the official teaching, doctrine or laws of the Catholic Church, the Professional Employee may be terminated immediately, without prior notice."

The decision to terminate Reich's employment came after she informed the school's administrators that she was expecting a child out of wedlock.

"She said it would be a problem, and she had to contact the diocese," Reich, 31, said on Action News Mornings.

The Harrisburg diocese wasn't pleased with the fact that Reich and her longtime boyfriend Matt Graboski planned to start family without any immediate plans to get married.

"I feel like I'm a rewriting of The Scarlet Letter at this point, just minus the affair," Reich added.

The diocese has turned down requests to comment on the situation, but it said in a statement that due to legal reasons it does not comment on issues affecting its personnel.

Reich, who said she misses her students "more than I think they can ever understand," is planning to appeal the diocese's decision, but she's not going to pursue any legal action.

According to the diocese's policy handbook, appeals have be made in writing and submitted to the principal withing 10 days. A Board of Education committee will conduct a review of the case, but if such a group doesn't exist, "the appeal shall be referred to the Secretary for Education who will set up a review committee."

Despite the harsh reaction from the school, Graboski told WNEP that he "extremely excited" about Reich's pregnancy. "It's one of the most rewarding things you can possibly go through," he added.

The couple said that they understand and respect Catholic morals, and have no ill will towards the school or the diocese. They just want to get married on their own terms, and if that means losing a job, then so be it.

Do you think it's fair for the school to fire Reich?

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.