A Catholic school in Minnesota has reportedly fired its longtime dance coach for living with her fiancé out of wedlock.
Melissa Marti, who was head dance coach at Cathedral High School in New Ulm, Minnesota for 15 years, says the school refused to renew her contact based on an “investigation” into her living situation. She lives with her fiancé and son, according to CBS.
Marti received an email offering two options to keep her job: Alter her living arrangements so she’s not cohabitating before marriage, or proof of a marriage certificate by June 15.
“It didn’t sink in, I bet I read it five times,” Marti said. “I did not comply with that. What I do in my own home that does not reflect on my teaching.”
A letter went out to parents explaining that the decision to not renew Marti’s contract was because she violated “eligibility agreements.” It said the district “offered options to resolve the issue.”
Marti isn’t Catholic herself, but teaching at a Catholic school means you promise to abide by their guidelines. (It’s something many teachers in same-sex relationships have learned the hard way.) In a technical sense, the school has every right to fire her for not living up to their standards. But when Marti has worked there for so long, helped so many students, and has never been a problem for them, this kind of selective outrage makes you wonder what the Catholic Church cares about more: The sort of impact teachers have in their schools, or who they live with when they’re back home.
It’s clear they don’t give a damn how great of a coach she is. Cohabitating is a sin they can’t get over.
It’s also telling that they’re investigating her when who knows how many other sins they overlook. How many teachers had sex before marriage? How many take the Lord’s name in vain? How many have had abortions? Why is Marti’s “sin” so much greater than the silent ones so many other Catholics commit?
It’s also disingenuous for the school to say they “offered options” when they just gave her an absurd ultimatum: get married immediately or move out.
The worst part of all this is that, while she has some supporters, the community isn’t stepping up to defend her, despite her universally positive reputation as a coach for the school’s dance team. In fact, some parents are speaking out in defense of the school’s decision.
“This one being a Catholic school, there’s certain values they have and expect their coaches to live by,” New Ulm parent Terry Zinniell said.
What values? The arbitrary Catholic ones? Those matter more than everything good she’s done in her many years at the school? Again, she’s bound by the contract, but the contract is still ridiculous.
Marti has lived with her fiancé for years and they’re scheduled to get married next year. It wasn’t a problem then, and it won’t be a problem next year. But for whatever reason, the administrators are going after her now. And the students are the ones who’ll suffer because of it.