Catholic schools always seem to find new ways to make the Church look even worse.
The latest incident comes from St. Martin de Porres Marianist School in Long Island, New York, where last month, headmaster John Holian allegedly disciplined a Black child by making him kneel in front of his teacher.
When the boy’s mother confronted Holian about this days later, his explanation didn’t make things better:
[Mother Trisha] Paul told The Washington Post… Holian admitted his role in the incident, and added that he’d been inspired by a Nigerian father who did the same to his son — a punishment Holian allegedly referred to as the “African and the Nigerian way.”
“When he finished telling this story, I was just on the phone baffled,” said Paul, who is Haitian American. “My child is not Nigerian. We don’t share the same cultures or beliefs. You’re assuming that because my child is Black that he must kneel down as well.”
What the hell…? That explanation is cringe-worthy enough, but even the kneeling was a strange punishment since there are plenty of other ways to punish children. Give them more homework. Have them sit silently somewhere. Call their parents. Whatever. But suggesting some weird display of obedience? Totally unnecessary.
The school has since placed Holian on a leave of absence and said yesterday they’ve “launched an internal review” of the incident:
St. Martin’s neither condones nor accepts the actions of our headmaster. The incident does not reflect our long, established values or the established protocols regarding student related issues. We have launched an internal review of the incident and restated in the clearest terms what is the established and approved practice for student-faculty interaction. Our most important mission here at St. Martin’s is to provide our children with the spiritual and educational foundation that will allow them to lead exemplary lives.
We are fully committed to providing our children with respectful care and instruction as we move forward.
Brother James Conway, S.M.
To say that a particular problem “does not reflect our long, established values” is almost comical coming from a Catholic institution given that that’s the same excuse they use to describe child molesting priests. It’s always one bad apple, and it never matters how many bad apples people keep finding. I’m not comparing Holian’s unintentional racism to intentional abuse, but when the Church pretends like the problems are the individuals instead of the institution, it’s no wonder these stories keep popping up.
At some point, even the Church needs to come to terms with how poisonous the entire orchard is.
By the way, maybe you’re wondering what the boy did to warrant any punishment at all. Turns out he started “working on an assignment ahead of time” when the rest of the class was reading. The teacher ripped up his homework and berated him for not following her rules before sending him to the headmaster’s office. Apparently the teacher wasn’t disciplined at all for this.
Such warped priorities with these people…
(Thanks to everyone for the link)