A MESSAGE TO OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY - June 26, 2020
Dear O'Connell Family,
We wanted to give you an update on the school's efforts since our letter on May 31.
First and foremost, we, as a Catholic school community, have been listening—listening to our faculty and staff, listening to our students, listening to our parents, and listening to our alumni.
On Monday, June 8, our principal, Mr. Carl Patton, invited all faculty and staff to attend (virtually) any or all of four listening sessions. Father Thompson, along with Mr. Patton, and several other faculty members have followed these meetings up with ongoing listening sessions with students, alumni, and parents who contacted the school leadership with a desire to engage in this conversation.
We have heard about ways that our own community—in its practices and patterns of behavior—has caused pain in ways that are fundamentally contrary to our school's and the Church's teachings on human dignity.
We are not done listening, but we are beginning to put our next steps in place, to provide a framework for moving forward to address racial inequities, injustices, bias, insensitivities, and more. A number of faculty members have come forward and are taking a formal leadership role to ensure our continued efforts to make the school community more reflective of the values we proclaim.
In the Catholic tradition, we know that there is a time for offering penance for sinfulness, a time for healing hurts which are so deeply ingrained in one's identity, a time for making changes which will truly have an effect, and a time for advocating beyond our local situation to create systemic changes nationwide. O'Connell will make a sincere and concentrated effort to move forward on each of these four fronts so that we can become a community truly living out our belief that we are one body, one body in Christ.
If you would like to be involved in an upcoming listening session with Mr. Patton and the school leadership, please let us know by using this form.
Sister Lorraine McGrew, IHM, Head of School
Mr. Carl Patton, Principal
P.S. We are compiling a reading list for our community. A good place to start is this document: "Open Wide Our Hearts - The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2018.