Disclaimer: Rev. McHugh, I am not a student at Pope John XXIII High School.
Therefore, I can write this blog item without being expelled. Kieran McHugh’s
students at the Catholic high school in Sparta, N.J., have been ordered to take
down any personal pages they have in cyberspace. The reverend says he is trying
to protect kids from predators and perverts online, as well as bullying and
harassment. The students aren’t having it—most have protested, saying the school
has no right to regulate their lives outside of the classroom. “I don’t see this
as censorship,” McHugh said. “I believe we are teaching common civility,
courtesy and respect. … If this protects one child from being near-abducted or
harassed or preyed upon, I make no apologies for this stance.” Leave it to
Catholic schools to stick their necks out and ban things that get ridiculous.
Last week, Kellenberg Memorial High School in Long Island, N.Y., cancelled the
senior prom when officials got fed up with students and parents flaunting wealth
with stretch limos, thousand-dollar gowns and swanky parties full of sex and
alcohol. As a survivor of Our Lady of Mercy elementary school in California, I
never thought I’d be on the side of any kind of institution so oppressive that
it assigned what games children could play at recess. But Catholic schools are
the only ones who sound sane lately. Someone’s got to put the brakes on things
students are doing and have some rules. Schools should have leaders who can make
decisions, not ones who act like ACLU lawyers.
—Posted by Celeste Ward