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Pregnant While Teaching


Is it immoral to be pregnant without being married? What if you’re a teacher?

In a lawsuit filed against her former public school district in North Carolina, teacher Heather Zampogna claims an assistant superintendent accused her of “immorality” for being an unwed mother-to-be.

He told her "this was a 'Baptist community' where people go to church," and said she might be fired, according to the lawsuit, which alleges a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

A month later, the former Tryon Elementary School Teacher of the Year was reassigned to tutor failing 5th graders in a trailer. The fact that the trailer lacked running water and a restroom, she said, made it difficult to work as her pregnancy progressed.

What do you think? Is it right for an administrator to make personnel decisions on personal grounds?


This is a difficult problem. If the administrator were making the decision based on a totally PERSONAL thing, then it would be simple. For instance, I don't think a person could be fired for drinking beer in their home where no one sees them (although there is some thought about giving the government the right to do this with smoking). But this is not a personal thing; it is a very public thing. If the teacher's behaviors truly violate community standards, then perhaps the administrator has not only a right but also a duty to do something about it.

If community standards works for pornography, why not everything else?

This would be ok, if this was a Baptist school, but in a public school, this is not acceptable. Being unwed and pregnant is not viewed as immoral by everyone. Perhaps it is viewed that way by most Baptists, but since it is not a Baptist school, she has every right to sue. I don't know how the laws work in NC, but I hope she wins. The minority's values are always a target for those that hold the majority. The one who should be fired is the administrator.

I think this is very wrong... What is next? A teacher with a visible disability is fired?

I think the school should uphold their standards. My oldest daughter goes to school where a coach just let them know she is an unwed mother to be. She told the girls she has no desire to marry the man because she doesn't love him. What message is that sending to my teenager??? And we wonder why teenagers have sex today - look who their mentors are.

I can remember when moral terpetude was grounds for dismissal of any teacher. Our moral standards have declined to such a level that anyone with standards is vied as a mindless moron or hate monger. I believe that teachers like ministers should be held to a higher standard than others because they have a greater influence on young minds. However to hold one to those standards, they should know them up front.We need to get back to having higher standards for moral behavior not just test scores.

So if an ADULT woman completely capable of supporting herself and a child decides to have a child without a husband she is completely and utterly immoral? This is crazy!

Yes, teachers should be held to a high professional standard - however in a public school that is not guided by religion - and before you start berating me, I AM a practicing Christian. A teacher is not a minister - they have been certified not ordained. If you want that - send your child to a religious school and pay the tuition.

These individuals you are referring to are not promoting promiscuity, they have made independent life choices. If these women love, cherish, and raise their children well, why ostracize them?

If you're worried about morality in schools I think that there are plenty of other battles to join - underage drinking, TEENAGE sex, drugs, fighting, attire, etc. just to name a few that happen in all schools. What about bullying?

I refuse to believe that a single mother as a teacher can cause irreparable moral harm to you or your children.

I am shocked by the above comments - I hope that it is simply that those in favor of this are those that are compelled to respond. Pregnancy is a private, individual choice. Would you prefer she had an abortion so that you didn't have to see it when her pregnancy became "public"? While we're talking about morality, what's moral about lacking compassion for a woman who may be in a difficult situation for a single mom, yet has the courage to raise and nurture a child? How incredibly hypocritical.

Is this conversation really happening in the 21st century? Isn't this the United States of America where everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Isn't that a PUBLIC school with no religious affiliation? What's next? Firing someone for getting a divorce? What truly irritates me the most is that the man is not held accountable. She didn't get pregnant by herself. What about judgment for him? Where is the morality of the people who are judging her? If these "Baptists" live by the bible, then they need to remember what the bible says about judging others - let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Unbelievable hypocrisy. This teacher shouldn't have to deal with this in a public school. I hope she sues the pants off of them. Disgraceful.

Can a student bring and publish pornography is a public school just because it's public. Community standards dictate pornography (whether it's a Baptist commmunity or not). Why can't community standards determine other acceptble behaviors.

And yes, this is the 21st Century, and I think some kind of dialogue about this is in order more now than it ever was.

We all find it necessary to do a lot of "judging" --- having to make judgments is not hypocracy. We judge that drugs are a bad thing (some of us, at least), that pornography is a bad thing (for kids, at least, although there is growing evidence that addiction for adults is not a good thing either), and that other behaviors are unacceptable. It's not hypocracy unless I indulge in behaviors that I claim are unacceptable in others ... and even then it may be weakness rather than hypocracy.

This is a good and needed discussion ...

Everyone has talked about the 'rights' of this teacher and the 'rights' of the community. What about the 'rights' of the child to have a father and a mother? Raising children is difficult. She is saying to all her students that I can be a teacher, a good mother, and have sex when I want and I don't need a man to help raise a child. This teacher didn't have to get pregnant; she chose to. She also knew that she would be flaunting community standards. Teachers do need to be held to a higher standard. This is not an issue of the 'rights' of a minority. I'm really tired of the 'anything goes' standard.

I still can't believe this!

I teacher in a public school cannot be demoted because she is going to have a child - single or not. This is NOT "anything goes" standard. There is no abuse here. This is not a woman who was "sleeping around" and told students about it and that it was okay. Her private life has no business being exploited in a classroom! True a teacher should be held to a higher standard - to anything that will effect her function in the classroom. Yes, pornography in the classroom effects teaching and should not be allowed, but being pregnant is NOT pornographic!!!! Whether or not she has a husband does not effect her teaching ability!

As I said before teachers are certified, not ordained!

What's next, a Jewish teacher in a Baptist community decides not to baptize her child and she gets fired? You don't mix religion and public schools!

And yes public schools do count for something - for everyone to have the chance to get an education regardless of beliefs and that is an issue rights! Public education is all about rights.

There are a few issues here beyond the "moral" issue--which most likely has more wrinkles to it than are being dealt with (should an unmarried pregnant woman abort rather than give birth if the "father" is unavailable? an abuser? married? Does the offspring of a rapist have the "right" to a "father?" Ought single women be allowed to adopt? Ought we return to the days whan a widow's children were removed from her care and placed with relatives--or others?).

There are some issues having to do with constitutionality (is morality--particularly of the Baptist variety--tied to religion, and might this be viewed as state sponsorship of religion?), and other forms of discrimination--ie preferring married women over single, or perhaps preferring childless women over pregnant (it hasn't been too long since pregnant teachers were expected to leave the classroom before they began to "show"). And who might we view as responsible for those children born to "immoral" women denied employment?

Lots to think about.

This is not an issue about religion (someone mentioned the Baptists early in this discussion and gave it a different twist), but of values. If the community's standards/values are not illegal, then they should have some weight.

The values of a community need to count for something.

I hate to state the obvious, but, in fact, the communitie's standards are illegal- there is no law dictating the reproductive choices of single teachers. I don't doubt that community values count for something- we do make choices about how we dictate our own lives, where we live, and who we associate with- but we have agreed, as a society, to protect the rights of one another, regardless of whether or not we agree with each and everyone of them. This is, in fact, written into the constitution, and it saddens me to see this abuse of our principles to forward the opinions of any one group over another.

No Administrators have no right in telling someone that they do not have the right to teach because that person is an unwed mother. It is absurd for any school religious or nonreligious to impose on teachers that they need to be married in order for them to teach at that particular school if they are pregnant. Religion should stay out of people life regardless if it is a religious school. Teacher work for the school not there to practice a particular religion just because the school is pro baptist. Give me a break you religious fanatic.

No one has the right to tell someone who has trained for a job that they cant teach because they are pregnant. What about career women who are artificially inseminated.

I am a Christian and even though I would prefer a pregnant teacher be married I think it is worse for the school to pass out condoms and tell kids its ok to have sex as long as your protected. Morals as we have been told are not to be taught at school so how can they judged.

i have a question? what if a teacher became a single mom while not yet employed in public school, and eventually apply and she did not declare it in her personal data, what will be the grounds for her?

wow! i am surprised by some of the negative comments on this page about unwed mothers. i am a teacher and i am pregnant. i have decided not to get married because this is not something i do not want to do at this time. i feel that it is my job to teach my students not raise them. that is the parents job. if you want your child to learn the morals and values you have, then send them to a religious institute. enough said.

I just found I am 6 weeks pregnant and unwed. I just accepted a job as a school teacher which requires restraints. How do I tell my principal and other administrators?

Upon becoming a teaching assistant at a private, "rich kid" school, I was an unwed mother of one. I was only asked by my students why I had a baby but no husband. I would simply state that it is not necessary to be married to have a child. I left the rest to the parents, as I am sure they had their own opinions about what they feel is right, wrong, ethical, moral, etc. Basically, people are going to feel the way they feel and although their thoughts may be obtuse, it seems to be the way of the world. If it affects your current situation or your rights, as they are stated by our "paper tiger" constitution, by all means hire a lawyer. But do not for any reason think this will change the present situation for all. We, as a nation, are not "there" yet.

I am actually pregnant again, albeit wed this time, and I am in the process of looking for a new teaching job. And even though my due date is late June, and will not interfere with a new teaching position, I am quite sure I will not be hired based on my current "condition." Lets face it, employers do not look favorably upon the pregnant employee. They would NEVER tell you this but it is the truth.

Well, my belief is that being gay is immoral. What's next firing all the "gay" teachers in the county?

HI MY NAME is katie i had a teacher that was pregnant with two boys

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