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Bishop O'Dowd High School Teacher Among 3 Let Go Over Morality Contract

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A Bishop O'Dowd High School teacher tells KCBS she has been let go after refusing to comply with a recent morality clause set out by the Diocese of Oakland.

The contract drew heavy criticism when it was discovered that all teachers in East Bay Catholic schools had until early May to sign the pledge to abide by church teachings, whether they were Catholic or not.

Bishop O'Dowd High School Teacher One Of Three Let Go Over Morality Contract

Teacher Kathleen Purcell decided that instead of surrendering her civil rights, she would sign the contract, but with portions crossed out. But the Diocese said that wasn't good enough.

"The reason was 'you crossed things out' and 'we're not going to accept contracts with things crossed out,'" Purcell recalled.

So after graduation in early June, Purcell will be out of a job, one of three at the school who won't be asked back. The Bishop is scheduled to meet with O'Dowd staff next week over what they don't like about the pledge.

Diocese spokesman Mike Brown reiterates the Bishop's stance that this is not a witch hunt.

"Remind teachers that they are not only classroom teachers, contracted to teach the Catholic principles, but they are role models," Brown said.

He said that extends to their personal lives as well.

A petition on to amend the morality contract has almost 3,000 supporters since it went up last week.

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