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A Message from the Principal

Dear BC High Community,

Over the last few weeks we have spent extremely important time listening to our current students and alumni share their experience of being men of color at BC High. It has been extremely difficult to hear. Frankly, at times it has simply been gut wrenching and heart breaking. BC High has been complicit in systemic racism. On behalf of the school I want to apologize for the hurt and pain you have experienced and continue to endure. We must draw on these difficult conversations to bring to life our Jesuit mission, to be men and women for others. To form contemplatives in action, where the action is marked by a deep, internally driven desire to seek justice.

I am deeply grateful to these students and alumni for their courage, and for challenging us to be better. To be more. We use the expression Magis as part of our Jesuit tradition. It means to do more – to seek greater depth – to be more. We should always be seeking that Magis in the margins. In our context, our students of color have voiced the feelings of being marginalized, victimized, isolated, and unsupported in our own community. They have not been heard. They have not been seen. They have been forced into the margins of our school. Many have given specific examples and these will provide the basis for our learning as we look to make the required cultural shift and corrective action at BC High. This includes committing to not having to learn this lesson again at the cost of the pain and suffering of our students. We will be better.

Where we start is not where we will end. We will begin with some small steps and commit to making sure that this is not just reaction but the beginning of what will be ongoing work.

Given the urgency, we are putting in place the following immediately:

  • Prioritizing the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with the first order of business to ratify the DEI mission statement that was proposed by students and faculty/staff this year under the leadership of Ms. Ruth Evee, our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion;
  • The establishment of a mentor program for our current students of color in conjunction with our alumni;
  • Re-evaluation of the four-year old curriculum review and assess using anti-racism criteria, committing to changing current curriculum content to be more representative and ant-racist;
  • Re-commitment to anti-bias training for all of our employees;
  • Clearly articulated opportunities and programs for all students, parents, and faculty / staff, to engage in the community work of anti-racism, building on the work of student affinity groups and parent groups, including CASA (Cultural Alliance Supporting All).
  • Engage external expertise and commit to an intensive study of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a particular emphasis on the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of
  • Whole school reads and a program of speakers on racial justice, prioritizing post community discussions and activities;
  • Hosting the second annual National Anti-Racism Teach-In this August, and;
  • The formation of a council led by Ms. Evee and containing a strong student voice and members from across all areas of our community, to apply a holistic lens at making our community more inclusive. This includes inside and outside the classroom and will result in clear, actionable

This merely represents a starting point and further action will be put in place and communicated as we commence and build on the work above.

We have not been strong enough in our commitment to being anti-racist. Despite good intentions, it is clear that our work so far has fallen well short of the mark. Our management of incidents in the past have not achieved the intended outcome of holding people accountable for racist behavior. We are a school that will work to be anti- racist and we affirm unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.

A disconnect exists between what we say and do when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion at BC High. We are deeply committed to reconciling this based on a process of reimagining and re-prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community with its foundation in the voices of our students. We do this with a renewed sense of urgency. We will answer Jesus’ call to action to stand side-by-side with the marginalized and the oppressed.

As we continue to listen, learn, and act, I have included a link here to an article by Fr. Bryan Massingale, from our fellow Jesuit institution Fordham University. I found it particularly useful in my own discernment.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it

President Regan , Ms. Evee, and I invite you to join us in an ‘anti-racism at BC High’ dialogue. We are setting up a series of conversations over the next few weeks, to draw on the voices and experiences of our community. Please click the link below if you would like to be part of this conversation about steps we can and should take to make our community anti-racist.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1wAMoIC9b3XJ45RQOoZHj4dEMUSLOZ79VI9kWtd9Yswc/edit?usp=sharing

We welcome you to partner with us as we continue to learn and grow and strive to live out our mission, which states; We strive to challenge our students to become young men of integrity, educated in faith and for justice, committed to academic excellence and service to others.

Sincerely,

Adam Lewis Principal