The quiet town of Blue Springs, Missouri, became the epicenter of a debate that has shaken the very foundation of St. John LaLande Catholic School.
A School’s Divisive Decision
At the heart of the story is an 11-year-old prodigious student, Will Muller, who was unceremoniously shown the door when his parents dared to question the school’s shifting policies on issues surrounding homosexuality.
Prodigious Student’s Unwelcome Exit
Will’s parents, Hollee and Paul received the jarring news on July 19: their son was no longer welcome at St. John LaLande.
Shifting Policies and a Precarious Position
The school’s reason? The family’s principles apparently did not align with the school’s ethos.
Deep Roots in the School Community
The family aren’t outsiders or recent additions to the school community.
Described as pillars of the school and parish, the family’s commitment runs deep, with Paul and his 15 siblings having previously walked the very corridors that Will does now.
A Family of Deep Commitment
The couple also generously gave their time as volunteer basketball and track coaches while also hosting a weekly ‘open gym’ for students.
The New Pastor’s Influence on School Policies
The point of dispute appears to have been the school’s new pastor, Father Sean McCaffery.
As reported, within his first year of tenure, McCaffery initiated a significant overhaul of the school’s resources.
Hollee Muller vividly described his entrance into the school, “The priest came rolling in hot.”
Banning LGBTQ+ Themed Books
His tenure marked the removal of books from the library that contained any hint of LGBTQ+ themes, including a seemingly innocent book about a polar bear with two mothers.
Rick Riordan’s work, celebrated for its inclusivity, was banished.
Educational Resource Restrictions
A notable casualty was the language app Duolingo, axed for translating the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian.’
Further, the widely acknowledged educational resource, CNN 10, was prohibited, with McCaffery’s justification being, “We don’t need the media teaching our kids.”
Inclusivity vs. Homophobia
Hollee didn’t mince her words in expressing her disagreement, emphasizing, “I don’t think being blatantly homophobic is a teaching of the Catholic Church.”
The Family’s Stand
This wasn’t the first time the family felt compelled to voice their concerns. Hollee had previously taken issue with the school administration when an educator insinuated that girls wearing leggings might be seen in a negative or inappropriate light.
In a letter to the principal, Hollee suggested a more enlightened approach: teaching boys respect and the appropriate treatment of women rather than making judgments on girls’ attire.
Heartbreak for Will
While their older son, Andrew, had already decided to transition out of the school due to discomfort stemming from these increasingly divisive policies, it was a different story for Will.
The young boy was heartbroken and didn’t want to leave the familiarity and camaraderie of his school. Tears, heartbreak, and a gaping void followed his expulsion.
Values in Conflict
The school, in their response, argued that the decision was taken “after prayerful consideration,” alleging that the family was no longer in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Their statement further iterated the clear divide in values, leading to the decision to disenroll Will.
A disheartened Hollee took to Facebook, expressing her dismay at the situation: “Can you imagine that absolute and unconditional love, acceptance, inclusion and celebration of another human can get you punished? Weird, I know.”
This incident sheds light on the broader debate concerning inclusivity, acceptance, and the role of educational institutions in navigating these subjects.
It leaves one to ponder where the balance lies between staunch traditionalism and evolving inclusivity.
The story of Will is not just one of an 11-year-old caught in the crossfire but a reflection of the broader struggles echoing in institutions worldwide.
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