Statement to our Community September 27, 2020

Dear Mercy McAuley Community, Alumnae & Friends,

On Thursday, Mercy McAuley celebrated Mercy Day, which commemorates Catherine McAuley’s founding of the first House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland. The day began with Mass and included several activities throughout the day. Most of the day was filled with spirit.

Included was a chalk drawing activity where each class was challenged to express themselves through their collective creativity using the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns as their theme. As a Catholic, Mercy school we are called to embrace Catholic Social Teaching through the lens of Mercy education; this is core to our mission. Therefore, we are called to embrace these Critical Concerns and integrate discussion about them throughout the Mercy McAuley experience. They are:

·        Women

·        Anti-Racism

·        Non-Violence

·        Immigration

·        Care of the Earth

On Thursday afternoon, conflict arose over the chalk drawings. A few of the students’ chalk drawings included a derogatory acronym regarding police officers.  School administrators were not immediately aware of the meaning of this acronym. A photo of the chalk drawing, which included the acronym, appeared on a social media site that is not sponsored by Mercy McAuley.

Mercy McAuley High School does not encourage, condone or promote language or actions that do not demonstrate compassion, one of our core values. As a Mercy school, we are committed to embracing the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns, including anti-racism and non-violence, in a compassionate, peaceful and respectful manner.

As a school, we apologize for allowing verbal violence in the form of the derogatory acronym to appear on the students' chalk drawings. While we did not know what the acronym meant at the time, we should have acted quickly to investigate its meaning.

As a school, we apologize to students and alumnae who have experienced unrecognized and unreconciled racism and/or discrimination of any kind within the walls of Mercy McAuley, McAuley or Mother of Mercy high schools.

As a school, we do not choose sides when it comes to pain. We know many of our students, families and alumnae are hurting. We stand in solidarity with all of you. Love and unity are our obligation to every member of our school community, and our core value of compassion is at the center.

We will use this experience as an opportunity to continue our strategic journey toward inclusive excellence and unity in our sisterhood. We are on a critically important journey and one that will take time to make significant progress. We commit to using this episode in our early history to make us better as a school community and to ensure that every student at Mercy McAuley feels that she is respected, loved and included. We are making plans to have in-person conversations about this experience with all students next week.

As a reminder to all of our current parents, there is a Parent Pack meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, September 28, at 7 p.m. in the Cafeteria. All parents are welcome to attend.

Mercy and compassion always in our hearts,

Patty Ragio, President & Connie Kampschmidt, Principal