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December 13, 2016

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Oh. my. dear. This is SO MUCH how I feel! (down to the preoccupation about the money spent on private Christian schools, this year our school budget doubled, but it won't be close to yours for another year and a half when both of my sons are in high school. Sigh...

But I hear you on the despair and lack of hope. I am SO GLAD to hear that there are other people who have been feeling uncomfortable with the conflation of Catholic/Christian with Republican. I have felt horribly conflicted about that for years and years. Sigh...

My youngest son suffered a bit of stress with all the young Trump supporters in his elementary school, but things have died down. His classmates seem to be mostly uninformed about real issues. Both of their schools are really small (120 in the elementary, a bit over 200 in the high school which has an extremely diverse population, I think 50% or more kids of color), so my kids don't have to put up with what yours do.

In any case, what is going to happen to this country in the next 4 years? May God help us to work hard to prevent 4 more. Every week I look at your tweets (203 more weeks until we elect a new president) and I have to smile. I still don't know if I'll be able to vote then. Such a hard decision.

Thank you so much for this, though, I definitely needed to read it. We need to pray a lot, that's for sure, and also act. Hugs!

Can't do anything? Can't, for example, issue a general statement to the student body that slurs will not be tolerated?

I can't believe I'm reading what you just wrote about the climate at your kids' school. The principal is being craven if he truly believes he can't do anything.

But - and this is a serious question here - why wouldn't you send this Christmas letter? This is a real letter filled with real concerns that overshadow the Christmas spirit. The things you're discussing in here affect every one of us. I am done keeping quiet for the sake of family unity.

We just had our annual holiday party and though it was a success (in that people came to our house and ate and drank), I still feel empty inside. Every bit of news I hear just brings more worry for me.

Moreover, yesterday I was driving up in northern Wisconsin for work. I turned on the radio to hear what people in the red part of our state listen to and I was just appalled. According to the talk radio hosts up there, liberals are just upset about Trump's win and there is nothing wrong with ANY of his prospective cabinet appointees.

I don't even know what to do at this point. No one cares what I have to say; I am just part of the liberal elite, I guess, and therefore am un-American and my opinion doesn't count.

I was going to say the exact same thing bearing did. Seriously? The heck?

There is NOTHING the principal can do?!? That is the most ridiculous, untrue statement. He can start implementing a whole-school program that addresses diversity. He can bring this up at the next staff meeting (or call an emergency staff meeting!) and discuss with the faculty how they can start addressing racism and anti-semitism in their classes TODAY. He can call a whole school assembly to address this issue. He can talk with the student council about next steps the student body can take. He can make it his goal as principal to create a more accepting, better educated student body with regards to diversity. Does your school have a board of directors? Because if he keeps complaining that his hands are tied I would consider levelling this up (with your sons' permission). That atrocious leadership on his part.

That principal is a coward and a fool.

If your students are making jokes like that, then your curriculum has failed them and your duty as a principal and as a human being is to make it clear to all of your students that such language is unacceptable, both for the sake of the cretins who are saying it and for the sake of the students who are hearing this hate and not hearing anyone call them out on it. Even if you don't know which kids are responsible, you can stop the normalization of hate speech.

Diocesan school? Might the bishop be interested?

The Anti-Defamation League has a No Place for Hate program specifically designed for schools. I would get your school to implement it. It's not going to fix things right away or completely but holy cow it seems like it's necessary in a place where Jewbag is a word.

And I have to say that getting called a Social Justice Warrior is a great compliment. God put us on this earth to repair the world. We are the hands of God. Surely that is what is being taught in a Catholic school?

I'm appalled by the principal's response.

And I'm sorry: there's a lot of fatigue and anxiety radiating from a lot of people I read, and people I talk with, and I hope things get better.

A moment of levity, if I may? The riff on Mahna Mahna made me chuckle, because holy cow, that's right out of a particular set of students I had one year! If I ever made the mistake of saying the word "phenomenon," like when I was describing things like "quantitative metathesis" in Greek class...they'd break into "doo doo, do doo doo!" and I'd have to wait while they finished singing the whole phrase.

And I'll admit, it tickled me so much that I didn't mind accidentally on purpose throwing the word in now and then.

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