Catholic schools extol differences

The Catholic Diocese of Toledo boasts its almost 200 schools across the region are “different by design” according to its slogan.
Alissa Widman Neese
Feb 5, 2014
Each year, students at those schools — including several locally — set aside the final week of January as Catholic Schools Week to celebrate those differences and thank the individuals who allow them to happen each day.

Catholics nationwide have recognized the weeklong celebration since 1974.

“I’ve always told our kids the reason we celebrate Catholic Schools Week is because the education they have is truly a gift,” said Rita Dominick, coordinator of special activities at Sandusky Central Catholic School. “It’s a spirit-building week with a purpose of giving thanks, so we can appreciate that gift”

Treacherous winter weather and numerous school cancellations cut the Catholic Schools Week celebration a bit short this past week, prompting some schools, such as Immaculate Conception School in Port Clinton, to extend their much-anticipated activities into Monday and Tuesday.

At Immaculate Conception School, activities included Mass, a book fair, fun dress-up days and a pajama day paired with popcorn and a showing of the movie “Despicable Me 2” in the school gym. The students also collected donations for Heartbeat of Ottawa County, to benefit new and expectant mothers in the area.

On Tuesday, the celebration finished with Bible bingo, a variation of the traditional game using symbols and images from Bible stories. Students in older grades paired with students in younger grades to complete their bingo cards.

“We look forward to Catholic Schools Week every year” fifthgrader Garrett Hirt said. “It’s fun, and it makes us thankful, because we realize how lucky we are to go to school here”

At Sandusky Central Catholic School, the week’s activities also included dress-up days, as well as a scavenger hunt and a Mass with students in all grade levels. The school invited three alumni who are now priests — Charles Singler, Jeremy Miller and Ken Lill — to participate.

A highlight this year: When the school gathered in “The Den” on Friday for a concluding pep and faith rally, they used their new video scoreboard with Margaretta Schools student Ali McKean, 7, through Skype chatting.

Ali’s mother visited the school in the fall to talk about her daughter’s rare genetic condition, which makes it impossible for her to attend a traditional school. Since then, Sandusky Central Catholic School students have rallied to support the family.

During the discussion, the group presented the McKean family with almost $1,000 to help with medical expenses, offered words of encouragement and also prayed for Ali’s strength and well-being.

Elizabeth Ficocelli, a nationally known speaker, was scheduled to speak at Sandusky Central Catholic School, but her visit is postponed until next month because of weatherrelated cancellations.


John Harville

Again Sandy, you are misguided.

"The exception to this rule is the intangible religious benefit received ..."

I have experience with Catholic schools in three states and always deducted the tuition. Never been challenged. Now, why don't you use the name and see if you get that "er" person in trouble.


First of all, John, tuition is NOT deductible. Yet another of your inaccurate assertions.

Second, DONATIONS to almost all charitable institutions are deductible, meaning your statement is both inaccurate AND irrelevant.

John Harville

...again How is SCCS a charitable institution?

"The exception to this rule is the intangible religious benefit received"


Except that tuition is for the tangible educational services. Religious benefit is free, unless they are passing the collection plate on Sunday morning at gunpoint. I'm sure, if they were doing that, we'd have heard about it in the Register.

And, again, if, as you claim, tuition were deductible, that would support, rather than refute, the assertion that it is a charitable institution.

liz garland's picture
liz garland

It seems as if it is the Catholic diocese who is attempting 'damage control' after the termination of Brian Panetta by SMCC. There has admittedly been a very well deserved stain on their public vestments as it were. Thank you to the Sandusky Register for exposing the hypocrisy and homophobia of St. Mary's Catholic Church! I find it strangely ironic that this year's Catholic Schools Week theme is "Different By Design". Each of us is designed differently and our differences should be praised and encouraged. Not shamed as St. Mary's and numerous community members believe. Also appropriate that they showed "Despicable Me" because that is what the Northwest Ohio diocese is...despicable.


"Damage control"? Catholic week was started in 1974 according to this article. Way before Mr. Panetta was born.


But don't actually BE different!!! LMAO!!!


So then, why do you send your grandchildren there?

Common Sense

This article is about Catholic Schools Week as observed by the Toledo Diocese during the final week of January. As for the teachers in the Catholic Schools being licensed, I think Ned Mandingo missed the point of the article. Then, many of you wished to worry about spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Could we just acknowledge that the Catholic Schools Week is a time for our students to be proud of their school just as it is in many public schools?

For the record, the difference that Catholic Schools can also tout is that values development (according to the Roman Catholic Church...not infallible) and daily prayer are included in the curriculum. I'm not certain about this, but does anyone know if there has ever been a school shooting in a Catholic school?

Ned Mandingo

Let me break down the facts that back up my earlier statement.
1 over 3,000 catholic priests have had been accused of sexual assault on young boys.
2 over 100 have been convicted
3Their church has paid out billions of dollars in hush money to cover it up.
4 they do not require a teaching degree, only a college degree.
5 the wages and benefits they offer are way less than public schools.
6Many new teachers take a job at a catholic school, only too leave when they get a good job.
In my opinion anyone who still supports this church after all their secrets are public knowledge is not a rational thinking person and their personal insults have no merit. It is impossible to debate brainwashed people who finically support the largest group of homosexual pedophiles in the world.
Most public schools are in my opinion better equipped to teach children with some exclusions. This does not include sandusky city schools or public schools in urban areas of Toledo.


Where did you obtain your facts?

1. You claim over 3,000 Catholic priests have been accused (note not convicted) of sexual assault on young boys. What time frame do these allegations cover and what was the total population of priests during the time frame?

For example there are over 410,000 priests now and if your time period covers more than 50 years one would have to substantially increase the total of number of priests. In any event using your figure of 3,000 ALLEGED abusive priests of young boys (note: girls don't matter?) the incidence of priests who ALLEGEDLY abuse children is about 0.73%.

Don't get me wrong there should be zero tolerance of abuse by priests in the Church, but I'm willing to bet the incidence of alleged serious sexual abuse of children is far higher in area police departments and schools than in the Catholic church as indicated by the James Fitzpatrick case, the Ricky Vitte Jr. case and the teacher cases.

2. You claim over 100 have been convicted. Again that would be 100 out of over 410,000 priests. An incidence of less than 0.025% Again, zero tolerance is the goal but it's far lower than the rate of convicted sex offenders in the Sandusky Police Department or area school systems.

3. The Church has paid out a lot of money (billions sounds excessive) not to cover up the abuse but to pay damages to the victims of abuse by its employee priests. That is the right thing to do in my opinion. Unfortunately the victims of government sex abuse usually don't see any money. Where's the moral outrage over police and public school teacher sexual abuse of children

4. It is intellectually far more rigorous to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Biology, or Chemistry or even History than it is to obtain a teaching degree. In fact the state allows people with science degrees to take a few classes in teaching methods and they can then teach in public schools because they are better teachers. The Catholic Schools model works because Catholic school students consistently out perform public school students nationwide.

5. Yes, the wages and benefits are lower than public schools, because religious school teachers view their work as God directed service to others. In other words they do not measure success by money or materialism.

6. Some teachers probably do accept a job in Catholic schools and leave because they want more money. That's not a bad thing, because if money is what drives them they would not be happy long term in a religious school.

The above facts demonstrate that local police departments and area schools have a higher rate of sexual abuse of children than does the Catholic church. Moreover, the police departments and schools do not pay damages to their victims but use the power of government to avoid responsibility.

Pursuant to your "logic", no rational person should support the police or public schools with their tax dollars because of the excessive rate of child sexual abuse in these institutions. But then you may be easily "brainwashed" by government and media because your writing and critical thinking skills indicate that you have not earned a college degree.

John Harville

3,000 or three... in 10 or 1,000 years - what would be your standard?

3,000 discovered/reported.... doesn't mean there were only 3,000 priests. And how many years of abuse and moving around for each priest

And how many molested children?


Mr. Harville:

It was specifically stated that zero tolerance is the goal. Also, data prove that the incidence of allegations and convictions of sexual abuse by law enforcement officers and public school employees far exceeds the incidence in the Catholic Church. Moreover, the Church is settling its lawsuits while victims of child sexual abuse in government institutions face enormous hurdles in courts.

Child sexual abuse is abhorrent everywhere, Those who are extolling the virtues of public schools over Catholic schools ought to work to clean up their own schools and police departments which higher incidences of child sexual abuse than the Church.

Has there been a recent allegation (within the last 10 years) of child sexual abuse at SMCC? None?

Now compare that figure (zero) to the many teachers, police officers, government officials and even the publisher of this newspaper that have had allegations or convictions of sex crimes involving children in the Sandusky Register reading area.


Babo as to within the last 10 years, does this count?

John Harville

Babo... "has there been a recent allegation (within the last 10 years) of child sexual abuse at SMCC?..."

Well from the Morning Journal.
"Smith ( football coach at SCCS) was terminated from employment at St. Mary Central Catholic High School as of yesterday, said Judy Monaghan, superintendent at Sandusky Central Catholic Schools.

Monaghan declined to provide further details, but said the allegations are troubling because they go against the schools' mission and because the district has good people working there.

"It's just an unfortunate time," Monaghan said. [great understatement]

"You get hit with allegations about one of your teachers who's very well-liked and that's quite a shock," she added. "



That was a violation of professional ethics, but since the student was 18, it wasn't child molestation or sexual abuse, so, yes, there have been allegations of improprieties, but not of sexual abuse of children.


It was a violation of state law.


But that's not what Babo was asking.

John Harville

A person in a position of authority with power over another is then sexual abuse of an adult. If your boss insists you have sex with him/her, it is abusive and a felony.
Split all the hairs you want.
If you want to play it that way, then a teacher/coach can have consensual sex with a student 16 or older - which is part of the Church's plea in the infamous suit of 10 years ago. Some of the young men were 16-18.
The court - and the law - didn't agree.


"If your boss insists you have sex with him/her, it is abusive and a felony."

So, then, Mr. Progressive, does that make your icon Bill Clinton a felon?
No, it's a cause of action for a lawsuit, but it's not a crime, and absent the insistence part, it's just an office romance, which may or may not implicate corporate policies.

The Big Dog's back

nemesis, you lost this argument, move on.


No, the detractors of Catholic schools lost this point in a landslide. Locally, the facts demonstrate that there were several convictions for child sexual abuse in the public schools in Erie County including a Sandusky Schools/Sandusky police program as opposed to no convictions for child sexual abuse at SMCC.


Apparently not, because Babo has made it clear their example does not constitute an answer to his question.



Your facts regarding the abuse scandal are irrelevant to any comparison of schools or evaluation of Catholic schools, because such abuse is not limited to Catholic clergy or religious schools, and thus it's not a valid comparison metric. BUT.... if you insist on using it as one, the Catholic schools end up looking pretty good:

-290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a public school employee from 1991 to 2000 (a ten year period.)

-10,667 young people were sexually mistreated by priests from 1950 to 2002.(a 52 year period.)

-In one year, in one state, representin 1/15th of the US population. there were 13,000 reports of social workers abusing those under their supervision.

In other words, Public school teachers abused TWENTY SEVEN times as many kids as the priests did in less than one fifth the time period, and a school child's chance of being sexually abused by a school employee is 1.89 percent, compared to .19 percent for a priest. State social workers are 951 times more likely to abuse a disabled person under their supervision than a Catholic priest was to sexually abuse a child.

A 2004 U.S. Department of Education report reported that "the most accurate data available" reveals that "nearly 9.6 percent of [public school] students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career." That's about 100 times the rate of abuse by priests.

Newsweek: "Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations." and "experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue."

Wait, you say, it's not about the abuse, it's about the coverup! Well......that same 2004 report cited an important study from the mid-1990s:

"In an early [1994] study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York, all of the accused had admitted to sexual abuse of a student BUT NONE of the abusers was reported to authorities."

John Harville

You are your own NEMESIS. In this discussion you cannot compare public and parochial for one reason.

Public Schools do not tout their 'difference' being the inclusion of RELIGION permeating the curriculum.

"apples to apples" don't you know (check the logo)


So, your answer to a kid molested by a public school teacher is "stop whining, you're OK because your molester didn't tout the inclusion of religion as a difference."

Yet another one of your failures of logic.

Ned compares the Catholic schools negatively to the public schools on the basis of the abuse scandal. The problem is, the public schools' have their own abuse problem and it's WORSE. Thus Ned's comparison is at best invalid, and at worst it favors the Catholic schools, especially since their abuse problem has been uncovered, and the dirty laundry has been aired. The fact remains that, statistically, your child is more likely to be molested in a public school than in a Catholic school. If your goal is to prevent your child being molested (and for any sane parent it is) then all questions of religion aside, the Catholic school is the logical choice. I know actively practicing Orthodox Jews, Baptists, and Muslims, as well as atheists who had a Catholic education. You don't even believe your own rhetoric, John, because, from your comments on political articles, it's clear you voted for a president who attended religious schools that teach hatred of our nation and society.

The religious claims of the molestor make no difference to the victim, and it's dismissive of the victim for you to claim they do.

By the way, religion isn't the major difference in the Catholic schools. It's the fact that they are allowed to screen out the sort of students who bring down the public schools. They share that chatacteristic with every other private school, be it Catholic, Prostestant, Jewish, Muslim, or secular.

John Harville

Wow. Come on baby, let's do the twist.
You cannot compare the issue on a public/private basis because of the other reasons you state "they are allowed to screen out the sort of students who bring down the public schools". So because all private or private/public schools (Charter) can be elitist their students should be safer.
"The religious claims of the molestor make no difference to the victm..." And then you 'twist' again. Actually the 'status' of the molestor IS important... coach, principal, pastor... adds the 'power' to the equation
Has a child of yours ever been molested? Have you? Unless you can answer in the affirmative to EITHER question, you should just SHUT THE F**K UP about 'dismissiveness'.


Poor John, so bereft of basic logic. If the metric is the presence of sexual abuse, we can absolutely compare any two institutions that place children under the supervision of adults. The selectivity or religious affiliation of the institution is irrelevant to said comparison, UNLESS you stipulate that it's somehow better to be molested by a secular principal than by a pastor. The status matters with respect to power differential, but not with respect to religious affiliation. As such, your statement is dismissive of the plight of those molested by secular authorities.

I never said selectivity means students should be safer. Your insinuation to that effect is the only "twist" here. I made zero claims about the reasons why a child might be safer in one institution than another. I merely pointed out that statistics demonstrate that Catholic schools have a better record than public schcools when it comes to the metric Ned chose.

What I don't understand is why citing this simple statistical fact renders you so angry.



As to your fourth point, I would call that a FEATURE, not a flaw. I would much rather have my child taught by someone with a degree in the subject matter being taught than an education degree, which amounts to 4 years of immersion in leftist, statist indoctrination mixed with new age pseudo science such as the almost religious fixation with self esteem. Education departments at most universities are populated by the portion of the student body with the lowest SAT scores. MOST private schools, including the top secular private prep schools, seek teachers with degrees in the subject matter they will be teaching. Maybe if the public schools would hire all those English majors away from Starbucks, we could raise the literacy rate of our high school graduates.

As for the monetary compensation being less in Catholic schools, that's also a feature. I'd rather have my kid taught by someone who is there out of a sense of dedication than by a mercenary. People love to tout professionalism as a virtue, but never forget, your wife is an amateur, and the woman standing on the street corner in a bad neighborhood asking passing motorists if they want a date is a professional.

"Most public schools are in my opinion better equipped to teach children with some exclusions."

The empirical results militate to the contrary.


At least, Catholic schools throughout the US got the memo that they need to be consistent when enforcing their "employment contracts". This week a Montana Catholic school fired an unwed pregnant teacher, who will probably sue as pregnancy is a protected federal class. Interesting note: The Diocese of Helena-- which oversees the school-- filed for bankruptcy a few days ago amid 362 sex abuse claims!