MANCHESTER, NH – David A. Thibault, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Manchester, on Saturday issued a statement regarding an incident that has garnered national attention involving a racist homecoming proposal by a student.
In his statement, Thibault notes that there has been “misinformation” circulating about the school’s disciplinary action toward the student.
When the social media post began circulating earlier this week Trinity posted a statement via social media that did not include information about action taken, and requests for comment from school officials made by Manchester Ink Link and other news outlets for comment were not immediately answered.
Thibault cited privacy issues that “prevent us from providing certain student information,” however, he added in Saturday’s statement that the young person involved “is no longer a student at Trinity High School.”
He also said Trinity will plan to have “school-wide discussion, listening sessions, and formation,” on the issue. When asked for clarification around the word “formation,” a spokesperson for the diocese provided this explanation:
“We’re providing formation on what the Catholic church teaches on the sin of racism, and our response to it. In the Catholic context, formation means education of the whole person including how they live and grow in faith and in service to one another.”
Read Thibault’s full statement below:
I was deeply upset and concerned at the Homecoming proposal image posted to social media by a former Trinity High School student. As Catholics, we believe that every human being has been created in the image and likeness of God, and we are called to treat every person with dignity and respect. The sentiment expressed in that photo has no place in our community.
There is a viral narrative surrounding the disciplinary action purportedly imposed on the student which has been circulating. This narrative is baseless. The rumor of a “one-day suspension” and allowance of the student to continue his participation in athletics is simply not accurate, and it never has been. The Trinity administration took action within a matter of hours of receiving an internal report of this image. Issues surrounding privacy prevent us from providing certain student information, however, the young person is no longer a student at Trinity High School.
This is a time to sit with others and truly listen; to love our neighbors as ourselves. Talking past one another, threats of violence, sharing of personal information, and posting of misinformation are unacceptable and must stop. Instead, let’s continue to work together to build up a community where all are treated with dignity and respect.
It is critical that all of our schools foster an environment where students feel safe, and concerns can be brought forward. Any student impacted by these events is encouraged to talk with their parents, the faculty, school chaplain, administration, and School Counseling Department because no one should be treated differently because of race, color, or ethnicity. Trinity has a supportive community of faculty and staff, and I had the opportunity to meet with them yesterday; they care deeply for every student, and they are heartbroken that their students are hurting. I want to convey my support for the entire Trinity family.
Opportunities will be available for the Trinity community to have school-wide discussion, listening sessions, and formation*. I look forward to being on campus next week as they spend time in prayer and in dialogue with one another.
In Christ, David Thibault