As parents, when you drop your children off at school, you do so with the confidence you’re leaving them in the hands of patient, caring, and qualified people. As long as those in charge are making a positive impact on your child, then all’s well!
Families at St. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami, Florida, found just that in Jocelyn Morffi — parents and students alike loved her. So you can imagine their outrage when they came to school one day to find her gone and all of her belongings left behind for a truly baffling reason.
Jocelyn Morffi is a 32-year-old woman who lives in Miami, Florida. She was a first-grade teacher and she loved what she did, the kids loved her back, and the parents adored her as a teacher. Everything was perfect — or so it seemed.
Jocelyn was well known by the parents and staff and was one of the most popular teachers at the school. Parents of her students praised her and referred to Miss Morffi as the “Mother Teresa of teachers, and for a good reason!
As a teacher of children who are so young and impressionable, Jocelyn found it difficult to talk to her students about the tragedies that occur around the world on a daily basis. She wanted her conversations with them to be filled with hope rather than fear.
St. Peter and Paul Catholic School
Together with her class, she started brainstorming ideas on how to give back to the community and instill hope in her students. They came up with the idea to volunteer at their local homeless shelter.
Jocelyn Morffi / Facebook
Jocelyn recalled, “When I came back from that first feeding, I asked the school if it’s possible for them to back me up, and I got authorization to send out a letter to the parents stating what’s going on and if they would like to contribute in any way.”
Additionally, Jocelyn used her platform on social media to start a program to encourage her students, their parents, and the community to join her in her new initiative. She used the hashtag #TeachHope to spread the word.
Jocelyn Morffi / Facebook
With her social media campaign and the support of her students, Jocelyn was ready to start her campaign and could only hope that the community followed in her footsteps.
Jocelyn Morffi / Facebook
Jocelyn was overwhelmed with support when her students and their parents showed up to volunteer at the homeless shelter with her. Parents also brought generous donations like loaves of bread, meats, cheeses, and snacks to bag up and hand out.
Miss Morffi’s students were passionate about her new program. A class parent and co-worker stated, “They wake me up bright and early on Sunday saying, ‘Mom, we have to teach hope.'” She was an integral part of the school, community, and their lives.
Having their kids spend every day with the “Mother Theresa of teachers” is every parent’s dream. That’s why the parents were immediately concerned— and very confused— when Jocelyn stopped showing up to school.
See, Jocelyn was scheduled to have some time off from work because she was celebrating something very special. She was about to marry the love of her life and best friend. She just assumed when it was all over, her life would return to normal.
Prior to the big day, Jocelyn set up a wedding website to show all of the important information regarding her wedding and to inform her guests of the festivities. She set up a wedding hashtag so her loved ones could follow the event online.
The couple planned a weekend-long celebration at the Key Largo Lighthouse estate. On Friday they held a welcome bash, followed by a seaside wedding ceremony on Saturday, with a goodbye barbecue on Sunday… but things didn’t go as planned in the days following.
When parents brought their children to St. Peter and Paul Catholic School following the wedding, they were shocked to see that their beloved teacher had not returned. When the parents learned why Miss Morffi was no longer there, they were outraged.
Since Jocelyn was such a known presence in the community and on social media, the school saw pictures of her wedding ceremony. According to the school, what they saw in those photos left them with no choice but to fire her.
Her Instagram displayed photos of Jocelyn and her wife joining in holy matrimony. Because same-sex marriage is not accepted in the Roman Catholic church, the school relieved Jocelyn of her duties as a teacher at the school.
NY Daily News
Jocelyn took to her social media and wrote this: “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 in partner.”
The parents who didn’t follow Miss Morffi on Instagram found out from a letter through the school, which stated that “She is no longer teaching at our school,” and it was “a difficult and necessary decision.”
The following day, dozens of angry parents showed up at the school. One parent told the news, “We feel cheated. She was the best kind of teacher that you can ask for and our kids, everybody, every parent here — our kids loved her.”
Parents threatened to pull their children from the school if she wasn’t reinstated. Unfortunately, Catholic schools, like many other schools, are not subject to the states public school laws. So, in the eyes of the Catholic school board, Miss Morffi was in violation of her contract when she married the woman she loved.
As of 2018, Jocelyn was seeking legal advice to figure out her options. Her attorney stated, “Jocelyn is humbled by all the love and support she has received from family, friends, the students’ parents, and the public. She feels that the manner of her firing was unfair, not only to her but to her students as well.”
Dedicating your life to educating others may be stressful at times, but it can also be one of the most rewarding careers you can have. It’s your job to guide future generations of children and, hopefully, to make the world a little bit better in the process.
Like Jocelyn, Leland Michael of Des Moines, Iowa, knew how important getting an education was. Especially in a world where job competition was getting stiffer by the day, a solid education was a vital foundation for success.
In fact, Leland thought education was so important he went into it professionally himself. He taught at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, and he loved working with the young bright students.
In fact, Leland frequently attended teacher rallies around the country to show his support of the hard work they all do on a daily basis. Teaching was often a thankless job, but Leland loved spending time around others who were as dedicated as he was.
Leland and his wife were thrilled to finally start a family of their own, no small feat considering his small salary. While teaching was a rewarding job, it wasn’t one that brought home the big bucks. But Leland took it all in stride until that fateful trip to Walmart…
Every year, a few weeks before the fall high school semester started, parents — Leland included — shopped for all the supplies their children needed for the upcoming school year. Having the necessary supplies was important, but Leland knew many of the parents had mixed feelings about it…
Every family came from different economic backgrounds, and it wasn’t as easy for some parents to afford all the supplies. And while Leland perused the local Walmart for classroom items, he came across a large group of parents angrily discussing the fact they had to purchase supplies.
They even turned to Leland and started complaining. None of them knew he was a teacher, nor did they know that he was using money from his own pocket to buy supplies for the kids in his classroom.
Leland felt pretty dismayed by what he heard the parents say. None of them had any idea of just how hard public schools had it, how many of them — just like him — had to scrounge for pennies in order to give their students a fighting chance. That’s when it happened…
Leland felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He turned around, uneasily. He saw a man with an angry face glaring back at him. Leland was concerned. Was this angry parent going to take out his aggression on him? But then the man finally spoke…
The man asked if Leland was a teacher. When Leland confirmed, the man, who had with him a young daughter, proceeded to thank and praise him for the hard work he and every other teacher in the district put towards the kids. Next, he stuck his hand in his pocket…
…And he offered Leland a $25 gift card to help with the supplies he was buying! It was an act of generosity the likes of which Leland had never encountered before. This was an act of kindness that came from deep within the heart.
Leland used the gift card to help pay for all his classroom supplies, and as he was walking through the parking lot to his car, he spotted the man and his daughter. Leland walked over and thanked the man again for the wonderful gesture. Leland then explained why the gesture was extra special…
Leland told the man about the angered parents he encountered and the comments they made to him. They were completely unaware he was a teacher himself and their comments had very nearly driven him to despair.
But then he met that kind man and his daughter. See, while the angry parents might have brought him down, this man and the positive example he was setting for his daughter had given Leland hope for the future.
That young girl saw her father give the utmost thanks to a teacher, which would have likely meant she would walk into her new classroom at the beginning of the year with respect for her educator. This respect was necessary to attain a particularly special reward…
A college degree! Students who planned on continuing their education after high school needed to look up to their teachers and see them as role models trying to help them be the best they can.
Just because a student wasn’t able to gather all of the necessary supplies, it didn’t mean they weren’t going to succeed. Sure, the supplies helped, but if the student had an eagerness to learn, they’d be just fine. And hopefully, a teacher would spot that desire and help them with the costs.
Leland’s wife was always proud of her husband and his drive to educate the youth. She knew the job came with ups and downs, but his passion to help people grow positively was the reason she fell in love him. She planned on sticking by his side through every ebb and flow of his career.
When Leland first heard those angry words, it was impossible not to feel resentment towards the parents’ attitudes. But his whole day turned around when he realized there were people out there who truly appreciated him and teachers everywhere.