To the disappointment of many, St. Raymond’s High School for Boys has announced that it will be cutting ties with the Brothers of Christian Schools, whom have taught and run the school for decades dating back to the 1960s.
St. Raymond Church pastor and a graduate of the high school, Fr. James Cruz, wrote an open letter explaining his reasons for severing the lifetime connection with the La Sallian educational tradition.
“I feel that it is a necessary decision, made for the good of the school and the students, and is based on a number of issues that have arisen over the past two years that have made it clear to me that a parting of the ways is necessary if the school is to fulfill its mission of academic, personal and spiritual growth for the young men that are students here,” Fr. Cruz openly wrote.
In response, the Brothers of Christian Schools sent a letter stating “We certainly would have been happy to continue the services of the Brothers at the high school, but it is a parish school and we acknowledge that the pastor is the one with authority to make such decisions.” That same letter continued to explain how the teaching order had been caught off guard by the news, while recalling the five decades spent at St. Raymond’s.
“It was just a matter of how things should be done,” said Fr. Cruz. He also mentioned how the school has had lay faculty running operations for the past four years. “It’s what’s best for the school,” the pastor added.
Many alumni of the school have expressed concern over the decision, questioning the reasons behind the decision as well as its timing.
“Although Fr. Cruz and I have tried unsuccessfully to reach one another by phone this week, other graduates have shared with me incidents in the past few years that the pastor cited behind his decision to cut ties with the Christian Brothers. One involved an inappropriate remark made by one Brother to a staff member at the school, for which he was dismissed from St. Raymond’s,” said St. Raymond’s alumni, John Roche.
Another conflict involved a group of Brothers meeting with Fr. Cruz about taking over leadership at the school without consulting the current principal or the larger Christian Brothers order according to Roche.
“To me and to many, those seem like problems that should be addressed on a one-on-one basis with individual Brothers now employed at the school, not by completely severing ties with the Christian Brothers who have taught at the high school since its inception, and at St. Raymond’s and in the Bronx for much longer than that,” Roche added.
He graduated in 1983, along with Fr. Cruz, although the two didn’t know each other well at the time.
Fr. Cruz promised to address all concerns expressed by the alumni in an effort of transparency.
The announced changes will begin at the end of this academic year.