Racism and Anti-Semitism
Provide guidance through conversations with your son
Dear Students and Parents,
Over the course of this school year, local news cycles have highlighted issues of racial conflict in several area schools. This, of course, is not a new challenge that schools are facing. We are dismayed and extremely disappointed to report that we were recently notified of a small but significant number of incidents involving Jesuit students inconspicuously displaying racist and/or anti-Semitic imagery and language around campus in the last few months. We have been working with the students who reported these egregious acts and when we know the identity of a student or students who engage in this type of behavior, we have continued to take swift and appropriate action as outlined in our Student-Parent handbook.
In most cases, however, we do not know the identity of the students who are secretly engaging in this behavior. These incidents in our community include graffiti in the bathrooms, a prop left hanging in a classroom and verbal comments and hand signals such as the Sieg Heil salute. In addition, we have received reports and screenshots of derogatory language and messages directed at specific students or groups of students through mass photo airdrops. It is unclear if these incidents are related or how many students are responsible because of the anonymous and evasive nature of how these acts were executed. What we do know is that these behaviors are harmful and antithetical to our Catholic mission and are creating an environment that feels unsafe to many of our students.
While we will continue to address these issues directly through both education and appropriate disciplinary action, we feel called to take the additional step to formally invite all of our parents to be actively involved in conversations with their son(s) about these issues at home. Our Mission as a Catholic institution and our desire to be a community of men and women who take great pride in the brotherhood amongst Jesuit students calls us to address these concerns prudently.
It is in that spirit that we write to you today to both inform you of these troubling and destructive actions as well as seek your assistance, as the primary educators of your son(s) at home, and provide you some tools* to aid in addressing these incidents through open dialogue. We invite you to help us actively take this additional step in addressing these incidents so that all students are clear about why this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community.
It is likely that some of our students know who is responsible and need support and guidance from their parents in order to feel comfortable working with the Jesuit administration. Our hope is that a discussion at home will give students more confidence and direction to address these types of incidents should your son(s) witness or experience an incident like this in the future. Some students may also be in need of parental support to come forward and report what they have experienced if they have been the target of this kind of inappropriate and unacceptable bullying. Our uncompromising role as school leaders is to promote the flourishing of every student, regardless of his identity. Furthermore, our Mission encourages our students to be competent, conscientious, and compassionate. Safety at school is an essential prerequisite for this type of learning to happen.
We hope our parents can provide this guidance through conversations with your son(s) at home and work with the school to respond to the students responsible for these behaviors. We know these are difficult conversations. We also know they are a necessary part of parenting and being a part of a faith community striving to advance a mission of peace and justice through the vehicle of education. The support of our parent community has always been a critical strength at Jesuit High School. We lean on you once again to help us promote a community that allows all students to not only become men of competence, conscience, and compassion but to do so for the Greater Glory of God.
We are proud of and celebrate our racial, religious, and socio-economic diversity at Jesuit. It is through that diversity that we are better able to advance our mission of showing our students the way to God and deepening their belief that they are, in fact, worthy and deserving of God’s unconditional love.
If you or your son(s) would like to discuss the incidents described above or any other similar incidents, please reach out to any member of the school administration: