MIAMI – A popular first-grade teacher in Miami has been fired for posting pictures on social media of her marriage to her life partner, who is another woman, parents of students in her class said.
Jocelyn Morfii, a seven-year veteran teacher at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, was abruptly fired Thursday by school principal Dr. Carlota E. Morales.
Morales sent a letter home to parents Thursday describing it as a "difficult and necessary decision."
"I'm upset," said an emotional Christiana Lopez, whose son was a student in Morfii's class. "The way they handled this was just unbelievable."
Lopez was among a dozen parents of students in Morfii's class who gathered outside the school Friday morning to protest her firing. They praised her as "a great teacher" and said they were aware of her sexual orientation and that it made no difference.
"What she does at home, that's none of our concern," said Ricardo Oviedo, whose 7-year-old daughter was in Morfii's class. "The fact is, she maintained a high moral standard at school and was inscribing in our kids a sense of community and love."
Several parents said they had met individually with the principal and an unnamed priest to discuss the teacher's termination, but said they had received no satisfactory explanation.
"You know, to be a Catholic, you're taught to be forgiving. But if you're gay, forget about it," said Cynthia Cini, the mother of a student. "But love is love."
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, Mary Ross Agosta, said Morfii was fired because "she broke the contract she signed when she began teaching at a Catholic school." The teaching contract apparently has a moral turpitude clause that was invoked.
It appears that Morfii may have continued to teach at the school without problems had she not posted pictures and video of her wedding on Facebook.
On Friday, she posted a statement saying, "This weekend, I married the love of my life and, unfortunately, I was terminated from my job as a result. In their eyes, I'm not the right kind of Catholic for my choice of partner."
Miami attorney Erica Canas told Local 10 News she represents Morfii and they are considering what legal steps to take next.