February 17, 2005

Parents, Teachers Lash Out At Diocese Over School Closings

Queens Chronicle

by Bryan Joiner, South Queens Editor February 17, 2005

Parents and teachers across Queens reacted angrily to the decision of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens to close or consolidate nine borough schools in June due to dwindling enrollment across the Catholic schools system.

The nine schools—St. Theresa’s in Woodside, Queen of Angels in Sunnyside, Ascension School in Elmhurst, St. Stanislaus in Ozone Park, Holy Cross in Maspeth, St. Pius X in Rosedale, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Astoria and St. Virgilius in Broad Channel—have decreased enrollment by more than 700 students in the last five years. Parents still criticized the diocese for its willingness to sacrifice neighborhood schools for a financial crisis.

“My faith has been tested, big time. Everyone says they’ve had it to the point where they will go to public schools. You don’t know who to trust anymore. We teach our children to be good people, but what happens when the people who taught them were not good people?” asked Pattie Shanahan, whose son attends the Holy Cross School in Maspeth. ...

Many critics blamed the school closings not just on low enrollment figures but on the large cash awards paid to settle priest sexual abuse cases over the last three years. The Dioceses of Brooklyn, New York and Rockville Centre have spent more than $14 million since 2002 to settle over 200 lawsuits in conjunction with priest abuse. The church paid $573 million in settlements nationwide between 1950 and 2002, according to a study by the John Jay College of Law.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2005 05:26 PM