'No God' comment adds up to no job for fired math teacher
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A math teacher fired from a Fort Dodge Catholic school because she joined an atheist website and noted on Facebook that she didn't believe in God said Friday she never imagined it would lead to her losing her job.
Abby Nurre, 26, was fired last December from St. Edmonds Catholic School. She was hired in August.
Nurre said she was called into the principal's office just before winter break and asked about Atheist Nexus, a social network that bills itself as site for "nontheists."
She said she registered on the site on her personal computer at home. She noted a New York Times' article reporting the government had spent $2.3 million on prayer research since 2000 and added the link.
"I never thought something like that would jeopardize my job," she said Friday from Phoenix, Ariz., where she was applying for teaching jobs.
Nurre was suspended by Monsignor Kevin McCoy and later fired by the school board for violating a policy that prohibits employees from advocating "principles contrary" to the teachings of the church.
I wonder if they have anyone who is, not necessarily an atheist, but simply not Catholic who works for the school, because they, too, would probably be advocating something contrary to the teachings of the Church. Maybe some people support pro-choice causes or gay rights like marriage equality. I wonder why, if her belief was not an issue she carried into the classroom, it was sufficient for her dismissal.
Would it be appropriate for privately religious teachers to be dismissed from public schools--of course not! No one could fathom the separation clause to extend to what a public employee believes privately, so long as it never interferes with their duties. So why is this not a reciprocal situation? How does Ms. Nurre's atheism impact upon her teaching math (not religion, or anything to do with religion, by the way)?
I also wonder how far any institution can go with using social media to first of all, track down what their employees do on their own personal time, and the extent to which it should be considered a basis for judging who they are and what they believe. There certainly can come a time when anyone has some buried blog-post, or even bulletin-board (rememba' them?) post that doesn't necessarily speak to who they are now, but something they were interested in at a given period of time. Especially on a site like Facebook, where it appears one has to "Friend" even to post a negative comment about something. It seems very unfair and somewhat invasive, and just a touch discriminatory, too.
I guess you could say I don't like it.