A first-grade teacher at a Catholic school in Miami says she was fired for being gay, and now a group of upset parents say they may pull their children from the school.
Days after marrying the love of her life, Jocelyn Morffi, a teacher at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, wrote in an Instagram post that she was fired for being gay.
"In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner," she wrote, along with the hashtag "#GuiltyOfLove!"
Upset parents who showed up to the school Friday disagreed with the school's decision to dismiss Morffi.
"We feel cheated," parent Cintia Cini said. "She was the best kind of teacher that you can ask for and our kids, everybody, every parent here — our kids loved her."
Parents shared a letter they received from the school Thursday informing them that Morffi was no longer teaching at the school.
"Today a difficult and necessary decision has been made regarding Ms. Jocelyn Morffi, our first-grade teacher. She is no longer teaching at our school," the letter read. "Please know that your child(children)'s education is of the utmost concern for us and throughout the next days and weeks your child's daily school routine will not be disrupted as Ms. Morffi's replacement will be selected very soon."
The letter does not mention Morffi's sexual orientation or why the school fired her.
During her time at the school, Morffi launched a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless with her students. Her class began with making 20 sandwiches for the poor. The #teachhope project spreaded school-wide, with over 2,000 lunches given out during the 2013-14 school year, according to the #teachhope website.
"I had to sit my son down and tell him that she wouldn’t be the teacher anymore and he cried," Cini said.
Parents said they quickly connected the dots after searching the teacher's name on the internet and finding mention of her wedding last week in the Florida Keys.
"I have a sister, she’s gay, she’s amazing. I think nobody nowadays does not know somebody that’s not gay," Cini said.
One mom said several teachers who attended the wedding fear retaliation.
“There’s a fear to speak out about what has happened," parent Samantha Mills said. "There was a warning provided to those teachers."
"There’s a lot of parents that are saying, you know, we want to pull our kids out of this school if she’s not going to come back," Cini said.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Miami said the teacher was fired for violating her contract.
"When a teacher is in a Catholic school and signs a contract it is expected the policies, procedures, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church will be respected and honored," the spokesperson said in a statement.
Morffi's attorney, Erica Canas, said they are considering legal options.
"Jocelyn is humbled by all the love and support she has received from family, friends, the students' parents and the public. She feels that the manner of her firing was unfair, not only to her, but to her students as well," Canas said.