An Important Message from the President and Principal of St. Pius X
June 25, 2020
Dear St. Pius X Catholic School Community,
A letter was sent to our community on June 2 addressing the need to confront racism and the many long-standing injustices experienced by people of color. We are writing to you today to reiterate our commitment to imitate Christ and combat racism with love and action here at St. Pius X.
We recognize that the first step of many is to continue to listen. We are aware of the social media posts and other channels bringing to light issues within our school community. We are reaching out to some of the students and alumni who have voiced their concerns to continue the work that was begun this past school year. And for those instances of racism that were recently brought to our attention, the administration will review these and continue to address these events directly.
We are called to love and respect each of our students equally, and this will always be a core tenet of our mission. We wholly rededicate ourselves to making certain that every member of our school community is treated with respect as a child of God. We welcome the recent comments from our students, alumni, and families, which are a sign that the Holy Spirit urges us to deeper conversion and commitment to our mission. Last year, together with parents, students and faculty, we began the hard work of reviewing both our school culture and the climate at St. Pius X so we can more fully embrace our school's mission.
This past fall, at the request of a number of concerned families in our community, we created the Diverse Voices Committee, a group within Home & School, led by our incoming Principal Dr. Edye Simpson. This committee is composed of parents from minority families whose voices and experiences are indispensable to more adequately tackle the issues at hand. They will continue to meet with Dr. Simpson to express their concerns directly and work toward an action plan for change.
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, a courageous group of students approached members of our faculty and administration desiring to be heard and discuss their experiences as students of color in our school. This effort provided the impetus to create two additional groups essential to combating racism.
The first of these is the Compassion PLC (professional learning community). This group consists of members from our faculty, administration, and counseling department who meet regularly to discuss how to better serve as allies and advocates for our students of color. They will continue to be instrumental in creating opportunities for education, training, and growth for both colleagues and students. Their ongoing task is to listen, prepare, and help implement structures, programs, and practices at St. Pius X which will help strengthen a more welcoming and compassionate St. Pius X family environment.
Hearing the concerns students of color had encountered within our walls, it became clear that their testimony would be the most powerful tool to begin to effect change. During a spring faculty meeting, students, supported by faculty mentors, presented speeches as well as a video illustrating their experiences at Pius. This presentation was the first of continuing plans to bring students' experiences to light and create a more welcoming environment in our school. Additional efforts include the newly formed student-led United Cultural Awareness Club, which will be active in the 2020-2021 school year and beyond to provide all students with a venue to listen, learn, and effect change. We will also continue to utilize Theology class discussions to tackle these issues through the lens of our faith.
We know we have a lot of work to do, including creating concrete steps to reinforce positive change. It will require all of us to be vulnerable, to re-examine the impact of racism in our nation, and to open ourselves to continued growth. We must move forward with an increased commitment to equality for all. Please pray for our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the greater St. Pius X family as we continue this important work.
Mr. Steve Spellman
Dr. Edye Simpson