Unwed Pregnant Teacher Gets Fired from School

A pre-kindergaten teacher thought it best to tell the truth but she still got the pink slip for her "sins."

Michelle McCusker, 26, who is 4½ months pregnant, was fired last month from St. Rose of Lima School in Queens, N.Y., for violating "the tenets of Catholic morality," according to her termination letter signed by the principal.

The New York Civil Liberties Union on Monday filed a complaint with the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission on behalf of McCusker, claiming the firing was an act of gender discrimination because the school's policy can only be enforced against women.

"This was my first teaching position, I was very excited," McCusker said at a news conference.

The young teacher said that less than a week after telling the principal that she was pregnant, keeping the baby and had no plans to marry, she got the ax.

"I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant," she said sobbing, with her parents at her side.

The NYCLU is fighting the school's decision all the way.

"It's wrong and illegal," said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director.

A spokesman for the archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens defended Saint Rose of Lima's rights to expect adherence to church doctrines.

"This is a difficult situation for every person involved but the school had no choice but to follow the principles contained in the teachers' personnel handbook," said Frank DeRosa.

"If I decided to abort the baby, the decision to fire me would not have been made because they would not have known," McCusker said.

Jobless McCusker now lives with her parents on Long Island, N.Y., and works as a substitute teacher.

New York's WABC affiliate contributed to this report.