Principal testifies in case of Catholic school teacher alleging she was fired for being pregnant and single
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Testimony resumed Wednesday at the Jackson County Courthouse in the case of a Kansas City Catholic school teacher who claims she was fired for being pregnant and unmarried.
Michelle Bolen worked at St. Therese Catholic School in the Northland from 2000 to 2015. Bolen’s lawsuit alleges she was terminated and subjected to harassment after carrying out her duties as a teacher, while pregnant and single.
Bolen is suing the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joe and Carol Lenz, the former principal at St. Therese elementary.
Church officials vigorously dispute Bolen’s accusations and insist the teacher’s contract was not renewed in 2015 for reasons unrelated to her pregnancy.
Lawyers for the diocese have argued that Bolen’s contract was not renewed due to issues with tardiness, code of ethics violations, and insubordination when asked to complete a ‘Performance Improvement Plan’.
During testimony on Wednesday, Lenz characterized Bolen as “combative” during conversations discussing the teacher’s improvement plan. Lenz also implied Bolen behaved unprofessionally when she communicated with parents at the school regarding complaints with another teacher.
Lawyers for Bolen pointed out that she was the only teacher at the school on a ‘performance improvement plan’ and argued that Bolen’s termination was the first time St. Therese did not renew a teacher’s contract in nearly a decade.
The case is expected to extend into next week. Bolen will take the stand, possibly as early as Friday. The lawsuit is seeking monetary compensation to be determined by a jury.