Amy Skewes-Cox, who leads the San Domenico School’s board of trustees, said the removal of the religious statues is “completely in compliance” with the school’s “new strategic plan“. “We want to make sure that prospective families are aware that we are an independent school”, she said.
Head of School Cecily Stock noted that while the local community knows San Domenico is Catholic, the school was making assertions that it was not run by the church or an order.
Kimberly Pinkson, a school spokeswoman, said that of the 16 statues previously on campus, six were removed and 10 remain. “Right now about 80% of our families do not identify as Catholic”.
“It is unfortunate that this conversation turned into one about statues rather than quality education and raising young people to become thoughtful human beings capable of respectful inquiry, thoughtful discourse, and striving toward social justice and a more peaceful world”.
In an email to the leaders of San Domenico School in San Anselmo, Calif., a mother is blasting decisions they have made recently to make it “more inclusive” and “less Catholic“-including the removal of “divisive” statues”.
In 1998, Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest Catholic university, chose to place crucifixes in every classroom on campus-with the exception of one-in an effort to balance the institution’s Catholic identity with its diverse student body.
There is “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change”, she said.
Sister Maureen McInerney, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, told the paper that she was OK with the decision.
Brown said the Archdiocese officials would also be contacting the school this week “to get the story straight from internal sources”, he said.
“The one main statue that has everyone fired up is the baby Jesus and Mary one”, Kim Pipki, a mother who withdrew her child from San Domenico said. “They are extremely involved in the community and in giving back”. “It really enriches their education”. It also takes great pains throughout its website to underscore its inclusiveness, noting, in several places: “San Domenico School does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, and national and/or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation/identity, disability, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law, in administration of educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid programs, athletics, or any other school-administered programs”.
San Domenico was founded in 1850 as an independent, Catholic school-meaning that it is not owned or operated by a parish or religious order.
“The school is terrific in every way”, he added. In the middle school, this means pupils study the Bible, Quran, Buddhism and do comparative research on major world religions. “I found the experience illuminating, and I benefited from a broader understanding of other world cultures and religions while at the same time (hopefully) offering some insight to my classmates into my own religion”.
Fitzpatrick said other parents raised similar concerns that the school was abandoning its faith, and that many are angered that the school did not notify them of the changes before enrolling their children for the next year.
“For the record, there were 16 statues on campus prior to the school year, and today there are 10 statues on campus”, she said.
In 2006, WND reported a cross in the chapel at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was removed to make the chapel “a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths”.