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Catholic school won't renew contract for coach

 

February 19, 2014



BILLINGS (AP) — A Roman Catholic high school in Montana isn't renewing the contract of an assistant softball coach because she took a job at Planned Parenthood, the coach and superintendent said.

Tarn Duff, 26, said Billings Central head coach Coleman Rockwell informed her Monday morning that she would not be helping with the team this spring. She received about $1,500 for coaching hitters and outfielders during the 2013 season after serving as a volunteer coach in 2012.

"The only reason they gave me was that I work at Planned Parenthood," she told The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/O9v3rX ).

Patrick Haggarty, superintendent of Montana's Catholic schools, said he agreed with the recommendation not to offer Duff a contract for the 2014 season.

Duff began working as a clinical assistant at Planned Parenthood in November, where she pulls charts and schedules appointments.

"I absolutely love the work," said Duff. "I believe everyone has a choice to decide what they're going to do with their body. Planned Parenthood advocates for equal rights, and women and men both go there. People go there to get checkups."

She said she "never thought twice" that her work at Planned Parenthood would be an issue with her coaching.

But Haggarty said it is.

"Certainly being employed at Planned Parenthood, an organization that by its nature violates Catholic moral teaching by providing abortions, is not being a good role model to the children attending Catholic schools," Haggarty said Tuesday.

Duff said she signed a contract but couldn't recall if it contained a morals clause.

"My mission was to share my knowledge of softball" with the players, she said. "I never mixed that with my personal life, and never put my beliefs on them."

In January, Butte Central Catholic Schools fired a pregnant, unmarried teacher. Shaela Evenson said she planned legal action. Duff said she is not considering that.

"I just wish that people didn't feel they need to worry about others' opinions and beliefs when they should just worry about themselves," Duff said.

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