"First, they put away the dealers. Then, they put away the prostitutes. Then, they shooed away the bums and beat and bash the queers. Turned away asylum-seekers. Fed us suspicions and fears. We didn't raise our voice. We didn't make a fuss. It's funny, there was no one left to notice when they came for us."
Within the past week, it has come to light that a beloved religion teacher at my high school has been fired by the administration. It was revealed via an e-mail to the Rochester Catholic School employees stating that "M.W. is no longer an employee of Rochester Catholic Schools".
When asked to elaborate or give a reason for this decision, Lourdes High School administration declined to comment further on the matter.
This religion teacher was one of few teachers at Lourdes that was loved and respected by students, teachers, and parents. Her lessons she taught in class extended beyond the classroom and she was considered a mentor by many.
Being a student at both Lourdes High School and Luther College has taught me to be articulate and to voice my opinion to things that are important to me and matter in the grand scheme of things. This is an opinion that must be heard.
Yesterday morning, Lourdes administration sent out a letter to parents and employees of Rochester Catholic Schools stating:
"It has come to our attention that a protest or demonstration may occur in response. While we are sensitive to the needs and concerns of the student body, there will be zero tolerance for insubordination to faculty, staff and administration. Furthermore, any students who disrupt the learning environment at Lourdes High School and/or are absent from class due to their involvement in any protest or demonstration, will face appropriate disciplinary action."
If current students are going to get in trouble for using their right to free speech, it is up to alumni and parents to get word out that we will not stand for injustices such as this to happen to our children in the school system. They need teachers and mentors they can rely on and trust in the school. Unfortunately, Lourdes seems to be getting rid of the few that can be trusted.
Read more about the story here.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.