Gerald E. Tullier CHS President THE SUMMER OF 2016 was difficult for Baton Rouge. On July 5, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by a police officer. Subsequently, racial tension was palatable in our community and protests filled the streets. Just two weeks later, two Baton Rouge police officers, Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald, and an EBR Sheriff deputy, Brad Garafola, were ambushed and killed. These events occurred as 13 other CHS teachers, staff and I were preparing to participate in a Leadership Assembly sponsored by the U.S. Province of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart focusing on discerning our prophetic mission. We discussed the meaning of prophetic as aligning our emotions with God’s perspective and insuring that our policies and school initiatives align with those as well. Throughout the conference and since, I thought about the recent violence and unrest in our community, and I reflected seriously about how CHS could be more prophetic — how we could better align our CHS policies and initiatives with God’s perspective. Here are a few things that we are trying: • We are seeking to more effectively spread the message that, in keeping with the educational tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, no student is refused admission for financial reasons. CHS has an explicit non-discriminatory policy, but we seek to go beyond that policy to let the entire Baton Rouge community know that CHS is accessible to any qualified young man whose family is seeking a Catholic secondary education. We are spreading that word through billboards and face-to-face meetings with pastors and other minority leaders in the community. • Dr. Tom Eldringhoff, assistant principal for discipline, has emphasized discipline as discipleship rather than simply rulefollowing, and he and Mrs. Sherie LeBlanc, admission director, have reached out to minority students, their parents and alumni to have
genuine dialogue about cultural differences and the experiences of our minority students. • In preparation for the November presidential election in an increasingly emotional and contentious political environment, we encouraged our students and staff to understand the responsibility to form our consciences in line with Gospel values, particularly respect for human life and for the dignity of each individual, and to engage in civil dialogue and prudent decision making informed by the Gospel and the teachings of the Church. Our CHS mission is to form young men in Gospel values. That is what these and other initiatives seek to promote. Though he was not associated with CHS, I am confident that Officer Montrell Jackson would have supported our mission as evidenced in his Facebook posting just prior to his tragic death. In the post, he said, “Please don’t let hate infect your heart.” Recently, our student-led school prayer selected and read by senior A.J. Thomas was “Jesus Needs Us” by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. The Risen Christ is with us today, And He continues to need each one of you. Jesus needs your eyes to continue to see. He needs your strength to continue to work. He needs your voice to continue to teach. He needs your hands to continue to bless. He needs your heart to continue to love. And Jesus needs your whole being to continue to build up his body, the Church. As we believe, so let us live!
As A.J. began the prayer, I admit I was only partially attentive, but somehow the prayer touched me and gave me confidence that our CHS mission is succeeding.
A Brothers of the Sacred Heart School Since 1894