“After a prayerful reflection,” a KC Catholic school district expelled the boy for punishing his mother

“After a prayerful reflection,” a KC Catholic school district expelled the boy for punishing his mother

Will Mueller, a rising sixth grader at St. John Lalande Catholic School in Blue Springswas fired — “unregistered” after a long prayer, according to a July 19 letter from Principal Susan Martin.

It’s not because Will, 11, was struggling academically or did anything wrong. On the contrary, “He’s an ‘A’ student,” said a classmate’s mother, and everyone likes it. “My son will say he’s the only one who never talks or gets in trouble.”

According to the letter, he was expelled because his parents, Paul and Holly Mueller, “have stated orally and in writing that you do not agree with or support the teachings of the Catholic Church. After studying and discussing a prayer among our school’s administration, it is clear that we no longer have a partnership with you, because your family values ​​are not aligned with yours.” Our school. Therefore, the school administration has taken the decision to deregister your child from our school.”

As it happens, the Mullers are mainstays of the parish and school, volunteering for basketball and track coaching, running a Tuesday night “open gym” for kids, and “volunteering to do a lot of things other parents wouldn’t,” said the same St. John’s mother, who Like the other four parents I spoke to, she didn’t want her name used for fear the door would show her too and left scrambling to find a new school three weeks before lessons started. “That church was their whole life. This is just wrong, and it will hurt a lot of kids.”

“I’ve given Holly so much of her time, I’m shocked they would do that,” said another St. John’s mom.

Paul Mueller attended St. John himself, as did his 15 siblings. So this decision is devastating for their families and for the wider community as well.

What exactly are Catholic values ​​that Mueller does not share?

Holley was vice president of the school’s advisory board, and has vetoed changes at the school ever since Father Sean McCaffrey He became parish chaplain a year ago.

New pastor pulled library books, blocked Duolingo app

“The priest came rolling in,” Holley said, “pulling books” from the school library, including one about a polar bear with two mothers and all. The work of Rick Riordansome of which feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters.

As Holly herself sums up her supposed heresy, “I don’t think blatantly homophobic is a teaching of the Catholic Church.”

the Duolingo language app She was taken away, according to the parents, because it translates the words “gay” and “lesbian”. CNN 10“Because the pastor said we don’t need the media to educate our children,” said Holly, a news source for “explainers on the go or in the classroom.”

A third mother I spoke to said she was told CNN 10 is out “because the parent company is too liberal.” She and others said Father McCaffrey does not respond to concerns, “or even look at us” who ask questions. “I don’t consider myself a liberal, but ban books and Duolingo? Don’t punish the child for the parent. Honestly, Holly did nothing wrong.”

Holly was also among those who spoke out after a teacher told her eldest son’s seventh grade room that girls in leggings might leave the impression they were “whores”.

The illiberal mother said the uproar that followed the classroom discussion was described by school officials as a “huge misunderstanding.” a lot of parents were upset” by what their children had told them about the teacher’s suggestion that it was up to the girls to help the boys get to heaven by protecting them from lustful thoughts.

In one of a series of emails to and from the school administration that Holly shared with me, after the “whore” incident, I suggested to the headmaster that “perhaps we need to start working on teaching our boys how to respect others and be treated appropriately rather than focusing on teaching girls how to Staying safe around others.

Her eldest son, Andrew, a rising eighth grader, has decided not to stay at school, having felt uncomfortable for the past year. But his younger brother would still very much want to be there.

As a private school, of course, St. John’s can expel anyone, at any time, for any reason or nothing. Parents at the school sign a “covenant” supporting the church’s teachings, and Holly freely admits that while she attends weekly Catholic services, she doesn’t agree with everything her faith teaches.

But punishing a child for his parents’ defection feels heartless: “He’s crying,” Holly said.

Only the school’s decision, she says, shook her faith, not in God, but “in whether I belonged to the church.”

Other parents fear retaliation if they support the Muellers

The decision puts Will, who has a life-threatening peanut allergy and other serious food allergies that everyone in St. John’s has absorbed into, to greater physical danger in a new place where he knows no one.

It’s to punish his classmates, who, according to their parents, are sad and upset that their friend won’t be with them when school starts next month.

And it scared other parents away, which they think was part of the point.

One of them said she was afraid her family would be next because she was not Catholic. Another said she would write to Bishop James F. Johnston Jranonymously, because it was now clear that anyone who disagreed would be purged.

Everyone mentioned how hypocritical it was for the Muellers’ son to be excommunicated when so many single and divorced parents, along with some married ones, did not quite agree with church doctrine either.

“We sign the family covenant that says we go to mass every Sunday, but I go to mass every Sunday and there are a lot of people who aren’t there,” said the same mother who invited Will, the only one in his class who didn’t get into trouble. “I don’t agree with all the teachings of the Catholic Church. In fact, I’m in line at the pharmacy to get my contraceptives right now, and no one is kicking me out.”

If perfect devotion—compliance with or even agreement with all faith—were really a requirement rather than an aim, Catholic schools would be empty. And if evangelization were the goal, you would think that the school would be more interested in keeping a child in the fold than in excluding his parents from it.

No comment from the pastor, principal, supervisor

The Reverend, Father McCaffrey, has not responded to my messages, nor has the Principal, Susan Martin. Nor did supervisor Karen Croh.

A statement sent to me by a spokeswoman for the diocese on behalf of the school said that non-Catholic families are “always welcome.”

The statement used the language of divorce — or, no, legal separation, and suggested that the school had no choice, given that Holly Mueller had breached a contract she signed in August of last year.

“Each family enrolling a student in our Catholic diocesan schools signs the Family-School Pact agreeing to understand and uphold the moral and social doctrine of the Catholic Church and to know and uphold the rules of the school. … When a family challenges Catholic teaching and curriculum decisions through persistent complaints to the school and diocese administration, it can arise Irreconcilable differences. In these situations, it is in the best interest of the family and the school to separate.”

Is that though? Other parents who talked to me do not see this as a pastor and administrator defending Orthodoxy, but for their own good. In fact, responsible adults choose to harm children to spare themselves the discomfort of facing a challenge.

Someone said, “If she wasn’t there, she wouldn’t have a reason to email it.”

At this point, the Muellers gave up on keeping their youngest son at St. John’s.

“I keep telling myself even though it helps a child, parent, or LGBTQ friend to be seen, heard, or appreciated, I’ve done the right thing,” Holley said in a transcript.

Even now, however, she writes, “I keep thinking about what I could have done or if I was doing the right thing.” I told her you look Catholic to me.

But do those who expelled an 11-year-old suffer from such doubts about their actions?

Because I can’t see how standing up against CNN and a teacher’s right to talk about “whores” in leggings serves to further the teachings of the church.

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