Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Catholic School Insanity

Katelyn Sills (the student expelled from Loretto Catholic Girls School after her family was partially responsible for lodging a complaint with the diocese which resulted in a drama teacher being let go because of her volunteer work as a Planned Parenthood "deathscort") has posted all the primary source documents associated with her expulsion on her site.

Honestly, I'm even more appalled than I expected to be. I'd assumed (based on my own experiences, especially when younger, of being less than fully measured in parish/school debates) that at the least the email exchange between Mrs. Sills and the school administration had become heated -- that there had at least been something real that the sisters had overreacted to.

Well, here's the text of the "threatening" email which got Mrs. Sills banned from campus and was cited as one of the reasons for Katelyn's eventual expulsion:

From: Edward&Wynette Sills
To: Sr. Helen Timothy ; Domenic Puglisi
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 10:30 PM
Subject: Abortion escort teacher at Loretto High School is totally unacceptable
Dear Sister Helen and Mr. Puglisi,

It has been over two weeks since I first brought this matter of abortion escort, Marie Bain, teaching at Loretto High School to the school's attention. I have patiently waited for some response to the extensive evidence I presented. Yet, she continues to have full daily access to the young women of Loretto CATHOLIC High School, including my own daughter's homeroom class. Employing such a strongly pro-abortion individual is a scandalous, hypocritical mockery of our Catholic faith. Many are praying for the conversion of all abortion employees and perhaps Ms. Bain has experienced such a dramatic change of heart. However, Ms. Bain so aggressively encouraged the mothers in to kill their babies at Planned Parenthood, that unless a dramatic conversion has taken place, her staunch pro-abortion position would be in direct conflict with Catholic Church teachings and certainly grounds for immediate dismissal.

However, I have received no response, no evidence of action, not even an indication that Loretto High School or the Diocese even shares my concern. Respectfully, I ask for a brief update of this situation, which will only get worse as more people find out that you continue to put our daughters at serious risk each day. Our family takes our Catholic faith very seriously and this is a very distressing, sad experience for all involved.

October 16th is Open House, where Loretto will enticingly showcase all of its many attributes, including the Theater Department, to the families aspiring to join the 2006 Frosh class, which will hopefully include our second daughter. I sincerely pray for a resolution to this matter before that Sunday, twelve days from now. For if Loretto and the Diocese deem it acceptable to employ an aggressive, openly, pro-abortion teacher, all families, including ours, deserve to know of your decision before subjecting our daughters to such an unsafe environment.

Please contact me as soon as possible.

Prayerfully and respectfully,

Wynette Sills
Now, you can certainly tell from the email that Wynette feels strongly about her position. However, as someone who spent nearly a year on a customer support auditing team a while back, I have to say this is well on the tamer side of complaint emails. Way on the tamer side. Back when I was on the audit team I saw complain emails constantly that threatened legal action, said they would never buy again, said they would file complaints with the BBB or state attorney general, used constant profanity and other offensive language, etc. Not only did the company I worked for not tell these customers never to contact them again, but it was our job to apologize to these customers for their problems (which usually were not our company's fault) and try to win them back.

Honestly, for the sisters to get this worked up over an email like this (and this is the specific email which the principle declared was "threatening") they must either never have encountered the slightest disagreement in the past or else find Mrs. Sill's pro-life activism personally offensive. Either way, I certainly can't see why a Catholic mother would want to blow $10k a year on sending her daughter to a school like this.

Of course, I suppose I'm a biased source. Honestly (despite having experience a number of frustrations with being homeschooled myself through junior high and high school) I don't see much of any schools out there that do what I consider a very good job of education, so I won't be in the market for a school (Catholic or otherwise) for the monkeys.


Todd said...

Not threatening, but insulting, to be sure. Mrs Sills pushed too hard on the personnel issue, and there was a veiled threat concerning Open House. Sr Timothy asked for a reassurance that issue wouldn't come up, and from what I remember in reading the e-mail exchange, the mother didn't provide it.

After Mrs Sills was banned from school property, her husband got into a private confrontation with a staff member. Then she tried to wheedle her way into four school events within two and a half weeks. She was right about Bain, but she made an unholy nuisance of herself even after she got what she wanted.

That said, the school probably dumped an unfair load on Katelyn by expelling the "family." It's not the first time a Catholic school has harmed a child or teen.

If I were the administrator, I would've bent over backward to handle it more diplomatically, but I can see the school's case, even if they might have overreacted.

Anonymous said...

I think the "unholy nuisance" Mrs. Sills made of herself was from a sense of urgency, which in turn stems from her deeply held convictions on abortion. What's still unclear is why Loretto's administration seemed to take their sweet time on the issue. I can't say that I'd conduct myself any differently than the Sills family had it been my daughter. One has to remember that the actions taken by the Sills family were based on their deeply held conviction that abortion is gravely evil.

And in defense of Mr. Sills, I would be very curious had they been keeping a keen eye on my wife as if she were a threat.

I imagine this could have turned out much more amiable had they correspondence been done by phone, rather than e-mail. What was missing in the written correspondence is inflection and tone of voice. It is left to the reader to ascertain what the author intended. Case in point: CATHOLIC from Mrs. Sills e-mail. The school apparently thinks she was mocking their Catholic identity. Or maybe it was that she was emphasizing the "Catholic" mission of the school (i.e. that Catholics cannot stand for such policy).

Darwin said...

I'm certainly willing to concede that the letters were insulting -- or at least that it's not at all surprising that the sisters felt insulted. (I think a lot of the reason they felt so attacked/insulted is that they don't agree with Mrs. Sills on abortion, or at least the unacceptability of having an active abortions supporter among the faculty.)

My point is more that if you want to run an institution like a business or a school, you had better be ready to deal with much more abbrasive emails than this. This really is nothing. And although Mrs. Sills was sticking her nose into administration business a bit with her insistence on follow-up, she was doing so far less than I've often seen customers of my business do.

The only reasons I can see for the sisters acting as draconianly as they did is either:

a) They're total babes in the woods in dealing with customer service.

b) They seriously, seriously hate people of the Sill's moral and political beliefs.

Somehow the latter seems way more likely...