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Rockwall Christian school facing legal action for firing pregnant, unmarried volleyball coach

ROCKWALL – The former girl’s volleyball coach at Rockwall’s Heritage Christian Academy (HCA) is considering legal action against her former employer which fired her last fall after she became pregnant out-of-wedlock.

Cathy Samford, 29, was the girl’s volleyball coach at HCA for three years and also taught middle school science classes for one year.

HCA’s Headmaster, Dr. Ron Taylor, acknowledges firing Samford last fall after the unmarried woman became pregnant but says it was within the private, religious school’s legal right to do so.

“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Dr. Taylor told WFAA-TV News.

Dr. Taylor said Samford violated the morals clause in her contract, and that the school considers its teachers to be ministers since they’re allowed to share their beliefs in the classroom.

Since the dispute remains unresolved and the school refuses to settle, Samford is considering legal action.

“You can’t discriminate against someone who’s pregnant or has a pregnancy-related medical condition. That is both state and federal law,” said her attorney, Colin Walsh.

Walsh and Samford have filed a charge of gender and pregnancy discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and are preparing a lawsuit against the school.

Taylor said HCA was contacted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the firing.

Samford says she is facing financial problems and now may have to give birth without medical insurance. She is due to give birth this month.

She also has two children from a previous marriage who were students at HCA.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

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