MISSOULA, Montana – Officials at a Catholic school in Montana are standing by their decision to fire a teacher for getting pregnant outside of marriage.
Shaela Evenson was recently fired from Butte Central Catholic Schools, where she’s worked for the past nine years.
The decision to fire Evenson was made by higher-ups within Montana’s Helena Diocese.
Those pushing for the teacher to get her job back delivered a petition with 22,000 signatures to the Bishop’s office on Thursday.
The petition was sent to Bishop George Leo Thomas, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena.
While the Bishop wasn’t around to formally accept the petitions he did release a statement.
“I am deeply saddened by these recent events and caught between the values of upholding the Catholic identity of our schools, while desiring to provide pastoral outreach and understanding to the teacher,” the statement read.
A parishioner told USA Today she doesn’t think it will cause the diocese to change its decision.
Teachers at Butte Central have morality clauses in their contracts, according to the New York Daily News. This includes behavior that goes against church teachings including becoming pregnant outside marriage or having an abortion.
CNN contributed to this report.