Charlesworth and her four kids, who also attended Holy Trinity School, have not been back since the January incident. A letter was sent home to parents the following day, explaining the situation and noting Charlesworth and her children were being put "on an indefinite leave.”Obviously, only one side of the story is being covered, since the school and diocese probably can't legally air all their thoughts since they involve personnel decisions and an ongoing lawsuit, but this certainly looks like the workings of a risk-averse bureaucratic mindset failing to take into account the human problems at play. The "anything to keep the kids safe" mentality seem to be at play here. And indeed, a number of parents of other children at the school have apparently spoken up in favor of Charlesworth's dismissal on those grounds.
While Charlesworth’s husband went to jail on two felony charges, she says she felt like a criminal too.
“And that’s what it felt like, the kids and I were being punished for something we didn’t even do,” she told NBC 7 San Diego.
Three months later, another letter arrived in the mail delivering a crushing blow. Charlesworth was fired for good, and after 14 years in the district not allowed to teach at any other Diocesan school.
The letter stated:
"We know from the most recent incident involving you and Mrs. Wright (the principal) while you were still physically at Holy Trinity School, that the temporary restraining order in effect were not a deterrent to him. Although we understand he is current incarcerated, we have no way of knowing how long or short a time he will actually serve and we understand from court files that he may be released as early as next fall. In the interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents at Holy Trinity School, we simply cannot allow you to return to work there, or, unfortunately, at any other school in the Diocese."
When asked for a response, Tom Beecher, Director of the San Diego Diocese Office for Schools wrote in an email to NBC 7 San Diego: “The diocese does not make public comment about personnel issues.”
Some critics have tried to tie this story in with news stories about Catholic school teachers being fired for violating Church teaching. Many Catholic schools have in their contracts a clause requiring teachers to live in accordance with Catholic teaching, and thus teachers have ended up being fired for offenses such as having a "same sex marriage" or deciding to become a single mother via artificial insemination. However, that seems to do an obvious miss-use to Charlesworth's case in order to score culture-war points. The problem with what happened in this case is that, at least according to the story as we know it, the school and the diocese decided to cut a teacher (and four students) off on the theory it was safer to do so than to deal with the possibility that her ex-husband might attempt some sort of crime against her while she was on school premises. Given that the last time he even showed up on school grounds, the school successfully called the police and he landed in jail for 6+ months, it seems like the degree of threat is pretty minor, and obviously the repercussions for Charlesworth and her children were potentially very large. (A private school in the Los Angeles area has apparently now offered Charlesworth a new job, so one hopes she will, in the end, get a more secure home and job out of this.)
In cases where teachers violate the morality clause in their contracts, however, they not only break the terms of their employment, they also undermine the reason-for-being of Catholic schools, which is to provide an environment in which Catholic teaching is lived and taught. In Charlesworth's case, it seems rather that it is the school which, in its rush to avoid all appearance of risk, is failing to live and teach Catholic morals.