Catholic School Fires Teacher Who Survived Domestic Violence, Calling Her a ‘Liability’

In a report from NBC News, a San Diego teacher and domestic violence survivor has been fired from her job — because her abusive ex-husband refused to abide by a restraining order filed against him.

Carie Charlesworth taught at Holy Trinity School for 14 years before she was placed on administrative leave, following a domestic violence incident in which her ex-husband showed up at the school parking lot. As a result, the school was placed on lockdown and Charlesworth and her children were ordered to leave. Three months later, she was fired on the grounds that the school district was concerned about her ex-husband’s “threatening and menacing” behavior, adding that they could “not allow” her to teach at Holy Trinity or anywhere else in the area.

“They’ve taken away my ability to care for my kids,” Charlesworth said to NBC News. “It’s not like I can go out and find a teaching job anywhere.”

While it’s understandable that a school would want to protect its students and staff, depriving a domestic violence survivor her livelihood is not the right solution, according to advocates. “Firing all these women is not the answer,” YWCA San Diego CEO Heather Finlay told NBC.

Charlesworth’s attorney expects to run into some difficulties with the case due to something called “Ministerial Exception.” As part of her duties as a teacher at a Catholic school, Charlesworth taught religion, resulting in a legal precedence that says she can be fired without cause — just like a priest or pastor.

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