We are grateful for the support of staff, faculty, students, parents and the diocese to be able to return to full-time in-person classroom instruction. Our focus on delivering education in a safe, healthy and effective learning environment overshadowed some extremely important work that was started this summer in response to a number of national tragedies. Please take a moment to read the following statement from the leadership of Saint Charles, addressing racism, discrimination and oppression, and the steps we’re taking to support every member of our Saint Charles family.
Saint Charles Preparatory School is pleased and grateful for the response of our community to the challenges posed to health and education by COVID-19. Following the transition of the school to virtual learning in the spring of 2020, the school worked closely with staff and faculty, parents, and the diocese to put together a plan for delivery of education that would allow for in-person instruction five days a week, while also ensuring an environment that would keep all members of our community safe and healthy.
The focus on a return to the campus of Saint Charles at the start of the 2020-21 school year was important for ensuring the best learning opportunity for our students. However, our response to COVID-19 also overshadowed extremely important work that was initiated at our school this summer and that continues into this school year.
A number of national tragedies over the last several months brought to the fore, once again, the pervasive sin of racism in our country and the injustices it continues to ravage on people of color. In tandem with our COVID-19 planning, our Saint Charles community also met to discuss this very painful and very real issue and affirmed a pledge of solidarity with all those who oppose racism, discrimination, and oppression, and who work to peaceably bring about their end.
Racist ideology runs contrary to the enduring teachings of the Catholic Church on human dignity. As Pope Francis recently spoke on this topic: “We cannot close our eyes to any form of racism or exclusion while pretending to defend the sacredness of human life.” Likewise, racist ideology runs contrary to the very foundations of Saint Charles: to our Core Values of Diversity, Character, Mercy, and Solidarity; to our Vision, which aims to develop young men for lives of contribution, service, and leadership—consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Catholic tradition; and to our Founding Promise which guarantees an exceptional education to every young man willing to accept the challenge of studying at Saint Charles, regardless of his background or means.
After a number of candid conversations with committed and courageous Saint Charles Preparatory School students, parents, and alumni over the course of the summer, we as a school community realized and now acknowledge that there have been many times when we have failed to serve all members of our Saint Charles family with the attentiveness and support they needed and deserved. Most disconcerting was just how unaware we were of these failings and the resulting pain and alienation they created among our family. We are profoundly sorry for the hurtful experiences that resulted from our own omission, inattentiveness, and lack of understanding. And we pledge to make meaningful changes to right these wrongs and to ensure our adherence to our school’s founding principles.
In response to this realization and acknowledgement, Saint Charles convened an ex-officio committee of stakeholders—all undersigned—including administrators, staff and faculty members, alumni, parents, and community members. This committee endorses this statement and takes from it a commission to identify and undertake the following initiatives to assess and, where appropriate, modify practices, policies, and curricula to address existing or potential issues of injustice and inequality during the 2020-21 school year and in the future.
- To implement a comprehensive implicit-bias and cultural sensitivity training program for faculty and students.
- To prioritize actions that create a sustained presence by people of color among our faculty members and administrators;
- To create policy and develop behaviors that welcome all people and deal appropriately with individuals who make racist statements or behave in a manner that is racist in nature;
- To examine the school’s curriculum and make necessary changes to course offerings to address any racial bias reflected there.
Ex officio committee
Mr. James R. Lower, Principal
Mr. Richard V. Ey ‘94, Dean of Students
Mr. John H. O’Neil, Academic Dean
Mr. Alex K. Loehrer, ’94, St. Charles Advisory Board Chairman
Mr. Craig S. Lee, ’77, St. Charles Advisory Board Member
Ms. Rachel M. Lustig, St. Charles Advisory Board Member
Mr. Steven A. Miller, ’77, St. Charles Advisory Board Member
Ms. Meredith, Lawson-Roe, Parent
Ms. Kristen Dickerson, St. Charles Guidance Counselor
Sr. Margaret Hoffman, St. Charles Faculty Member
Mr. Salvador Mercado, ’17, St. Charles Finance Office
Mr. Travis Nixon, ’12, Community Relations Officer
Mr. Michael Warner, St. Charles Faculty Member
Mr. Jeremy Grimes, St. Charles School Resource Officer