Timeline of a Crisis
Over the past year, parents and students have become aware of what we perceive as a growing crisis at LA, one that has been building unchecked, unexamined and now threatens the very legacy of our beloved institution. A crisis that students, parents, and teachers all feel is being ignored. These concerns have been silenced, ridiculed, and are being treated with hostility by the Administration. In this timeline, we tell the story of what we uncovered as we began to connect the dots.
- June 1, 2020: In a series of communications to the Loyola Community, Loyola Academy announced a new, multi-year anti-racism initiative. This initiative included the hiring of a DEI consultant and a new Assistant Principal, the creation of a DEI Director position, intensive faculty training and an invitation for parent involvement. Parents were told that “The sin of racism continues to infect our country, our institutions and our own hearts.”
- July, 2020: Several anonymous Instagram posts appeared on the True Colors of Loyola Academy Instagram account, claiming racism at Loyola Academy.
- Early Fall, 2020: Parents began to participate by reading the DEI material and found that this curriculum was steeped in divisive, secular ideologies, not Catholic theology, as was originally represented.
- Parent concerns regarding the ideological nature of these materials were met with silence from the Administration. Suggestions of additional, alternative resources from scholars with a different point of view were dismissed.
- Fall, 2020: Several teacher training sessions occurred. Those teachers who asked questions were told “Questions equals Resistance.”
- October 14, 2020: the Loyola Academy Boys Youth Group hosted a Diversity Dialogue with two presenters, David Stovall and Jacqueline Battlora. The full video of the discussion was posted on Loyola’s Confronting Racism page. Shared below are examples of the presenters’ divisive rhetoric and opinion presented as fact:
David Stovall: “We are operating under THREE pandemics, not just Covid but also talking about the Pandemic of White Supremacy and the Pandemic of Capitalism.”
Jacqueline Battlora: “I know I am racist. I don’t wanna be. I don’t like it. You cannot be a product of US Culture and society and not be, especially as a white person. It’s not possible!”
- Late Fall, 2020: Parents who had been ignored by the DEI Director and the Administration began sharing their experiences and frustrations with one another.
- February, 2021: Loyola suspends Parent DEI Initiatives: discussions, presentations and the DEI Book Club.
- March, 2021: Several events occurred in rapid succession: the recision of a job offer to a Loyola alum based upon his political views, the denial of a Turning Point USA Chapter by Loyola’s Student Activity Director, and the media exposure of an assignment focusing on white privilege in one of Loyola’s Theology classes. Parents who had been unaware of the cultural shift taking place at Loyola were now starting to get engaged.
- Parents and alumni started hearing, many for the first time, that students at Loyola were being silenced, marginalized, and in some cases bullied for their beliefs.
- March 12, 2021: A video surfaced showing Loyola’s Assistant Principal, Terri Jackson, being interviewed by Ignatian Solidarity Network. She shares how she is intentionally creating an environment where alternative viewpoints held by faculty are marginalized and expelled:
”We are at the stage where we are trying to implement that evaluative piece when it comes to work in the classroom … So the thinking that is not in connection with, not in support of DEI work will become marginalized … Instead of me having to have the conversation with someone about not renewing a contract, they are starting to internalize that, okay, so maybe this is not the right fit for me.”
- March 21, 2021: The Director of Student Activities embeds a survey about gender stereotypes into an email about signups for Loyola’s Spirit Week. (A copy of the survey is in the Concerned Parent’s Letter Appendix.)
- March 29, 2021: LA Administration issued a statement that lead many parents to believe that their concerns had been heard and that the school would no longer assign these types of assignments. However, that was clearly not the case as parents shared numerous examples of similar assignments which seemed to contradict the Administration’s assertion that the assignment in question was a one-time event.
- Late March, 2021: The Concerned Parents and Alumni of Loyola Academy coalesced as a group in response to these events. As the group grew and began to share information and experiences, several disturbing patterns emerged. These were documented and shared with the Administration and the Board of Trustees in an April 8th letter.
- April, 2021: Longtime supporters and alumni of Loyola Academy read the stories, were contacted by current families and began to express concern about the direction the school was heading. They came together to form KidsWinLoyola.
- April 23, 2021: KidsWinLoyola joins with CPA to support parents, ask for full transparency in communications, call for all voices and viewpoints to be heard and effect positive change. KidsWinLoyola Leadership communicates with the Administration and Board of Trustees asking for full participation in any survey and fact finding committees established by LA, so that trust could be restored with the parent community. The Request was denied.
- April 26, 2021: Two weeks before The Ramble, Loyola’s biggest annual fundraising event, a petition circulated on social media urging parents and alumni to “support Loyola’s DEI Initiatives and the Administration and Board of Trustees.” The petition spoke in vague generalities about these new initiatives and claimed the “terms and concepts used to address the sin of racism are not intuitive.” Parents who had familiarized themselves with Loyola’s specific DEI initiatives found the petition disingenuous and misleading.
- The petition quickly went viral through young alumni support, and included numerous false accusations of racism against the KidsWinLoyola and the Concerned Parents Group.
- April 30, 2021: KidsWinLoyola asked the Administration and Board of Trustees about their involvement in this petition and requested they go on record repudiating the baseless claims of racism. Neither the Administration or Board of Trustees has done so.
- May 12, 2021: Parents participated in one of the two virtual focus groups facilitated by Mercer Consulting. The stated purpose was to help the Administration get a better sense of participants’ connection to Loyola Academy. Throughout the focus group, parents were asked for their thoughts on a variety of subjects one of which was Loyola’s diversity and inclusion efforts. In this forum, these statements received very high level of agreement from the participants:
- “Allow for discussions with both perspectives shared. Not just one sided. Allow our children to make their decisions and form opinions.”
- “Listen to VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS about critical race theory curriculum.”
- “The Administration MUST respond to every concern raised by parents and treat them seriously. And NOT tell them to go to another school!! There is no serious dialogue with Admin on sensitive issues.”
- “Stop calling people racist and telling kids they are bad because they are white.”
- “Teach kids instead of telling them how to think. Loyola is losing touch.”
- “I am seriously considering pulling my youngest out of LA and not sending my younger children because of the toxic environment inside LA. I am so very sad about this and wish this were not the truth. Until this year, our family loved LA.”