The skunky Sunday night line | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The skunky Sunday night line

Posted By on Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 5:23 PM

I don't know about the rest of you but a crisp sunny day in fall with temperature in the 60s is a 10 in my book. On that happy note, the line is open. Final notes:

* A MESSAGE TO MOUNT ST. MARY PARENTS: The news here and elsewhere of the constructive firing of a Mount St. Mary Academy English teacher, Tippi McCullough, because she married her partner, Barb Mariani, in New Mexico last week has prompted a letter to parents from principal Diane Wolfe. I've printed it in full on the jump. The news is referred to obliquely, not as departure of a teacher, but "adherence" to teaching of the Catholic Church.

* THIS IS MORE LIKE THE HUCK I KNOW: Mike Huckabee, uncommonly sensible in recent days, is back on the dark side. He's firing up the right-wing religious nut base for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia. The rally was at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and anti-abortion themes dominated.

* SKUNK IN THE WOODPILE: Mountain Girl entertains me regularly with photos from her wildlife observation camera near a feeder she has in the woods on her place up the Arkansas River from here. You see some of the darnedest things. Such as a skunk and raccoons enjoying a collegial repast,
click to enlarge feeder_363.jpg



No doubt you are aware of the ongoing news coverage and public discussion relating to Mount St. Mary’s continuing adherence to the teachings of the Catholic Church. We are receiving expressions of concern along with an upwelling of support from students, parents, alumnae and the community. We recognize that our students and parents also have a range of opinions and emotions, and I am writing to share some important information that I hope you will use in answering your daughter’s questions.

Out of respect for the privacy interests of our faculty, we cannot discuss details about personnel matters. I trust you understand that we must maintain confidentiality of personnel matters just as we respect and safeguard our students’ privacy. Our mission, though, is a matter of public record.

Mount St. Mary was incorporated in 1851 to ensure that students in Arkansas could receive an excellent education along with a solid Catholic foundation. As a Catholic school, we adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church and are committed to the vision that has guided us for more than 160 years. We know that commitment is a key reason you chose Mount St. Mary for your child, and we value your enduring support.

Sometimes adherence to the Church’s teachings may be difficult, challenging and/or unpopular. This is one of those times for Mount St. Mary and its student community. Our students will look for guidance and reassurance from you and us. We recognize that some may disagree with our actions, and we respect their right to do so. We also value the quiet support and understanding shown by many others who recognize that, as a Catholic school, our actions must be aligned with what we believe and teach.

Through it all, our primary concern is the well-being of our students. We are doing all we can to reassure them, and we want to reassure you: Our commitment has always been to build a strong foundation for our students, and we remain focused on that mission.

We are addressing several student concerns: We are working to ensure continuity of the educational programs and we will keep you updated on our progress. We will communicate with students to receive their concerns, respond to questions and offer reassurances. Our dedicated faculty will continue delivering their services and school counselors are here to talk with any student. We are looking into the option of having outside counselors available if needed.

We know you share our commitment to the success and well-being of your student, and we value your parental involvement in this important conversation. We pledge to continue communicating and working with you to fulfill our school’s mission on behalf of your daughter.

God Bless,

Diane Wolfe, Principal

Mount St. Mary Academy

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