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In God We Trust

By Larry Sykes, Toledo City Councilman

Guest Column

The surprising directive recently issued by Central Catholic School to its students is insulting, insensitive, inconsiderate and thoughtless to say the least. Since when did learning have anything to do with the length of hair, the type of shoes worn or, for that matter, the color of oneís eyes - absolutely nothing!

The most threatening and alarming part of this scenario, is the source behind it, the administration.


When Jesus walked this earth and selected His disciples, the chosen were six fishermen (Peter, John the Baptist, James and Andrew), one tax collector (Matthew), one capable of serving as treasurer of the group (Judas), one was selected because of friendship with two other selected disciples (Philip, friends with Peter and Andrew) and the occupations of the remaining disciples are unknown (Bartholomew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Matthias).

Although the disciples were all men, they had long hair, wore open-toe sandals and wore long robes. I canít imagine for a second that Jesus made the selection of disciples based upon their hair, clothing or shoes. I believe He made the selection based upon the individualís heart and willingness to trust, believe, support and follow Him.

Why Central Catholicís administration would do anything more than what Jesus did is both perplexing and irresponsible. This is the same organization we trust and have confidence in to provide a standard of excellence in teaching our children. Our tax dollars (through vouchers) are being used to pay for the intolerance their school system obviously feels for many of its students.

They want us as parents, grandparents or other relatives of the students, to believe that they know best what is essential to student learning. They give themselves far too much credit in this category. There are at least two things wrong with their philosophy: 1- excellent teaching adapts to the student and 2-excellent teaching requires respect of the diverse talents and ways of learning for the student.

Most churches I have been to encourage you to come as you are. Yet, we accept that students in Catholic schools are required to wear a uniform? So, letís stop right there.

When does the Catholic school student get to be the individual that he or she is? Why should the student have to wait until after school or the weekend to be an individual? The answer is the student should be comfortable being an individual during the school day as well. It is not necessary to have every student wearing the same hairstyle, the same shoes or carrying the same style book bag in order for the student to learn. Students are first and foremost individuals, not robots.  Centralís administration should go visit Toledo School for the Arts (TSA) or Toledo Technology Academy (TTA). 

 As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, Catholicism has played a prominent role in the history and development of civilization. Letís not forget that it was the Catholic missionaries who went to the various countries such as Africa, South America and also the U.S.ís Wild West to convert what they considered salvage people who didnít look like them Ė naked, long hair, bones in the nose, feathers in their hair, cannibals Ė to Catholicism.

The Catholic Church also considers itself to be the authentic continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus Christ. I know the Jesus Christ I serve, never required his disciples to dress in the same colors, the same outfits or the same anything. Yet, each disciple followed Him and remained an individual while doing so.

The Catholic school administration needs to follow the lead of Jesus Christ and erase its arrogant attitude in trying to turn our children into robots. God made each student an individual and he or she needs to remain that way.  Besides, isnít that what Central wants to do Ė to make disciples of its students also.  


Copyright © 2017 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/14/17 21:12:40 -0700.

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