Parents of students at a Catholic school in the San Francisco Bay area are protesting the board’s decision to remove and relocate more than 160 statues of Jesus, Mary and historic church figures from the campus in an effort to make the school more “inclusive.”
Shannon Fitzpatrick, who has an 8-year-old son at San Domenico School in San Anselmo told the local Marin Independent Journal that “articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico’s 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one’s heritage and beliefs.”
She said that during the time of her family’s association with the K-12 independent school, “the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic.”
The chair of the school’s board of trustees, Amy Skewes-Cox, explained to the local paper that the move was made to help non-Christian students feel more welcome.
“If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling,” she said.
The removal of a statue of Mary and the Christ child from the school’s center courtyard was especially troubling to parents.
Fitzpatrick said other families share her concern.