TORONTO - The motto of the Basilian Fathers and of St. Michael’s College School is: Doce me Bonitatem et Disciplinam et Scientiam – Teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge.
Not to belabour an athletic metaphor, “that’s where the goalposts are”. We don’t always score, but the ultimate objective is there.
When we sent our boys to the care of those Basilians, my wife and I hoped the “docenti” (teachers) would also live up to the motto. Why not?
They were men who had forsaken a secular perspective on life to live one dedicated to those ideals. They would be the first to note that some “ideals” had not been met and would take the appropriate measures to mitigate and correct.
Anyone who is, or has been, a parent to teenage boys understands the free, borderless, perspectives they continuously test out against those who “push back” I have grey hair for the exercise. My own dad lost his on my account.
Sometimes, as a contributing author, Michelle Wylie, pointed out in an article penned for the Corriere, we fi nd monsters among boys.
When that happens, action should be swift and decisive – in the spirit of the motto. It did not happen in November, when the issues of “hazing” and denigration turned to sexual assault and rape with implements.
All of it captured on video and streamed via social media for all the world to see. The police eventually intervened and laid charges of assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault etc.
The school had already expelled several students. All of them clearly identifi able in the video. One of them, the son of a consular official.
In the face of a “crisis” testing the very soul of the institution, the muddled approach by the Board of Governors and the Administration can only be kindly described as incompetent.
After a week of haphazard, stage-managed e. orts to control the message, the principal and the Chair of the Board tendered their resignations. The secular members of the Board did not follow suit.
Maybe they are part of the problem. They should have immediately understood the lapse in delivery of fi duciary duties. They hunkered down instead.
None of them identifi ed their interest in the institution save to say they were graduates or parent( s) of graduates. Nina Perfetto is a lawyer/partner with Folger Rubino.
Nick Di Donato is a caterer/businessman, owner of the Liberty Grand group which runs, among other venues, Casa Loma. Michael P. Forsythe is a fi nancier president of a REIT. They are all still on the Board. Why? They cannot be considered indispensable. The others are Basilian priests who have taken a vow of obedience.
On Wednesday, December 12, late in the day, the school issued a bulletin announcing the cancellation of the Football and Basketball programs as well as other athletic activities. About time! Yesterday, a school spokesman was quoted as saying…”it was an incredibly di. cult” decision.
Spare us the trite colloquialisms of the vocabulary-challenged millennial crowd. The phony contrition could only have been sculpted by those who overuse the words “amazing” or “awesome”.
The only “incredible” part of the exercise is that it took so long to come to the decision; or, that there has yet to be a sincere apology extended to the students and to the community that still believes that the motto is worth something.