No Straight Answer From The Archdiocese

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What started off as simple story about Seton Catholic Junior High School opening its doors to the students and staff of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic School when Saint Charles was damaged in Hurricane Ike, quickly turned into a “Why is the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston so funky?” tale.

Hair Balls learned that Saint Charles Borromeo, a K-5 school, went looking for a new home after Hurricane Ike severely damaged its campus. Nearby Seton agreed to share its classrooms and facilities with Saint Charles. Rumors have circulated for years that because of falling enrollment at both schools the two would eventually be merged. Did Ike hurry that plan along?

Because the physical facility requirements of a K-5 school differ from a junior high and because Seton didn’t have loads and loads of extra space to share with Saint Charles, we figured there were going to be some bumps in the road. What about kiddie-sized bathrooms? Seton doesn’t have any. What about an outdoor playground? Seton doesn’t have one. Would the staffs merge or continue to exist independently? Two principles for one school might be a bit tricky.

If the schools were merged, what was the name of the new school? Saint Charles Borromeo Elementary at Seton Catholic Junior High seems a bit cumbersome. How were lunch and dismissal schedules being coordinated so that everyone wasn’t trying to jam in to the cafeteria or parking lot at once? Would there be any new construction at Seton to accommodate the needs of the Saint Charles students?

All of these seemed legitimate questions to Hair Balls. Not so to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Director of Communications Claudia Deschamps. In answer to our inquiry, Ms. Deschamps sent us this curt note:

First of all, let us clarify that the two schools have NOT merged. Seton Jr. High and St. Charles Borromeo are two separate educational facilities. Seton will open its doors [Wednesday] and will start receiving students from St. Charles Borromeo. That is only because of the damage that their facility sustained due to the storm. The students from Seton Jr. High are scheduled to arrive on Monday.

I can tell you that the two principals of both schools, St. Charles Borromeo and Seton Jr. High are working together to provide a sense of normalcy and educational continuity for the students whose school was affected.

Uh huh. Okay, it’s not a merge. Great. Of course, both principles are working together to provide a sense of normalcy blah blah blah. No one would expect anything less.

What about the no kiddie bathrooms/no playground/no nurse/a very full cafeteria and parking lot questions? Ms. Deschamps glossed right over them.

Also, Ms. Deschamps lied misspoke. Both Seton and Saint Charles students have been at the Seton campus since this Monday. The older students have been helping to move desks and supplies, the younger students were being shown the facility (they were supposed to start on moving desks, etc. today). The Seton students even held a mock run-through on their class schedules. So, the campus has been open and student filled since Monday.

When we informed Ms. Deschamps of the error/miscommunication/confusion/whatever and asked her if she wanted to modify her remarks she sent us this:

That is our statement.

Alrighty then.

Here’s the deal: Students, parents, prospective students and parents, staff and faculty of both schools have questions about the new arrangement between Seton and Saint Charles. Hair Balls has questions. A simple, “Things are tough. We’re doing the best we can and will figure it out as we go,” would have been fine. Instead Ms. Deschamps decided to play, “No comment.” Always a mistake.

So, we have one more question for Ms. Deschamps.

Is lying by omission a venial or a mortal sin?

Olivia Flores Alvarez

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