OAKLAND, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland is under fire for a new contract clause that requires teachers to conform to church teachings in their private lives.

Some parents, teachers and students worry teachers could be fired for being gay or engaging in behavior the church frowns on, such as having sex outside marriage. Three teachers at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland have refused to sign the new contract, Diocese of Oakland spokesman Mike Brown said last week.

Parents and teachers, additionally, planned to protest at the diocese's offices.

The diocese runs more than 50 schools and employs about 1,000 teachers, many of them non-Catholics. Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month that the new language is not a witch hunt, but an attempt by Oakland Bishop Michael Barber to be clearer about the contract.

But some teachers see it differently.

Kathleen Purcell, a history teacher at O'Dowd High School, said she signed the contract, but crossed out the part about private behavior. Her contract was not accepted, and she does not plan on returning to the school.

The issue has come up in Ohio as well.