A Catholic school in Florida is getting sued for being “too woke” and for teaching students about “gender identity, human sexuality, and pregnancy termination among other hot button issues.” The lawsuit accuses the school of fraudulently claiming to be Catholic even though they taught students to respect LGBTQ people and about racism in the U.S.
Anthony and Barbara Scarpo filed a lawsuit with the Hillsborough County Court alleging that the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa is just pretending to be a Catholic school but then leading the Scarpos’ two children astray. Now they want a refund on tuition and donations they made.
“In the Defendants’ zeal to embrace the politically correct, ‘woke’ culture currently in vogue,” the Scarpos say in their complaint, “Defendants breached Defendants’ promises to provide Plaintiffs’ minor children with a Catholic Education in return for Plaintiffs paying tuition and fund-raising” for the school.
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The Scarpos say that their two children attended the school for the past six years and the older child just graduated, but they pulled the other out because of “ongoing issues.”
One of the issues was that the school wasn’t anti-LGBTQ enough.
“On a blackboard at the entrance to the school where all ages pass,” the complaint says, “Defendant Academy explains how to be a good ally to LGBTQ+ individuals but utterly fails to put any part of this explanation into perspective with mainstream Catholicism.”
The lawsuit contains pages of rambling, barely-coherent emails from other parents complaining about the lack of homophobia and transphobia at the school.
“I am sure I don’t need to inform you all (he/she/they) that the very foundation of our Catholic faith rests on Marriage and family,” one letter states, attempting to use pronouns sarcastically. “The information provided [by the school] is at best anti-heteronormative (cis-gender) and at worst anti-Catholic.”
Another quoted parent accuses the school of being “abusive to our children” by being too progressive.
“Who among you is a trained clinical expert in the understanding, teaching and lecturing of these highly sensitive social justice, equity, racial and sexual issues of today? None of you!”
The Scarpos also took exception to the Catholic school’s attempts to teach about racism. The school, they say, told students about the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two unarmed Black people killed by police officers last year.
“What has actually happened was less a conversation and more a lecture about being guilty because of one’s skin color and economic status,” the Scarpos said in their complaint, apparently surprised that a Catholic school would make students feel guilty instead of turning everything into an open-ended debate. “Rather than view racism and hatred through the lens of a Catholic education, Defendants chose to provide only one perspective – you as students should be guilty if you are white and your parents can afford our tuition – with or without financial aid.”
The Scarpos say that school administrators did not “recognize the harm to their White, non-Diverse students by making them believe that they and their families are personally responsible for the historic harm(s) some members of our society have visited on other members of society.”
The Scarpos list 13 counts against the school, many of which involve breach of contract and fraud, and name administrators, the school itself, and the Florida Catholic Conference (because they accredited the school) as defendants.
They are asking for over $1 million in tuition, donations, and pledged donations. The complaint also says that the Scarpos helped raise $9 million for the school, which they claim ended up “besmirching and harming” their reputation.
They also want the Academy of the Holy Names to stop saying it’s a Catholic school. The school is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.