Dear Members of the Magnificat Community:
In the days since our public statement regarding the video of a Magnificat student using a racial slur, we have received messages of concern and disappointment from members of the Magnificat community and the wider Cleveland community. In humility, we recognize and take responsibility for how our actions and inactions around this incident contributed to deepening the pain of racism, particularly as experienced by people of color within our community. I deeply apologize for that.
In particular, I would like to respond to two of the criticisms surfaced in how we addressed this incident: 1) the perceived inadequacy of the disciplinary action and 2) the private handling of the situation and lack of public acknowledgement.
With regard to the disciplinary action, we realize that our policy to protect the offending students’ privacy makes it appear that we are not being transparent. While we did not expel the students involved, we took action aligned with our Mission and in pursuit of restorative justice principles. As educators, we believe that, when students make serious offenses, they should have the opportunity to work to heal the harm that they caused and to grow from the situation.
Going forward, we continue to commit ourselves to employing fair and equitable disciplinary practices and policies rooted in both accountability and transformation. We will continue to evaluate our disciplinary policies around hate and bias for greater transparency so that all of our students feel fully supported. We will also continue to provide professional training for our faculty and staff around racial equity and restorative justice practices so that we can more fully implement both within our school community.
Concerning how we handled the incident privately in January, we recognize and regret that we missed an opportunity to better serve our community around this issue in that teachable moment. Going forward, we continue to commit ourselves to denouncing such incidents of hate and bias in our school, and to providing support to the victims or targeted community of any bias incidents.
We are committed to building a more racially just and equitable world, and have been engaged in this work for many years. We have worked in partnership with the educational organization Facing History and Ourselves
for 20 years to train our faculty and students to critically examine history and the positive choices we can make to respond to hatred and bigotry. Understanding racial justice has been a primary component of our professional development efforts over the past two years, and we hired our first Director of Equity and Inclusion in July 2019.
As people of faith, we hear God’s loving call for individual and communal transformation in the struggle for racial justice in the larger community and in our own. In response, we will be forming an anti-racism task force that includes all levels of our constituents. The goal of the task force will be to plan and host listening and dialogue sessions this summer with members of our community about their experiences within the culture of Magnificat, that will be followed by a community summit designed to deepen the integration of racial justice in the relationships, practices, and policies of our community. We invite your participation, your voice, and your insight in these sessions. More details will be forthcoming.
Thank you for the feedback you have been giving us during this difficult and important time. Central to Mary’s Magnificat
is the call to work for justice. We are catalyzed by the tragic events taking place in our country at this time, and we stand with the statement
that the Sisters of the Humility of Mary Anti-Racism Task Force released yesterday. As a Magnificat community, we have important work to do to educate ourselves about the role we must play to dismantle racism in its many forms. I hope you will join us as we strive to be a more inclusive and welcoming community for all, and as we work toward healing and transformation in our school as well as in our communities, our nation, and our world.
Moira Clark ’77