Police charge 14-year-old with Catholic school vandalism

Updated 4:09 am, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 SHELTON, Conn. (AP) — Police say they have arrested a 14-year-old boy for vandalism so extensive in Connecticut that school had to be canceled for a day. Authorities received a complaint about the vandalism at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Shelton Feb. 2. Investigators found lockers, desks and classroom walls spray painted with sexual references and depictions. The damage has been estimated in excess of $4,000. Police arrested the boy Monday and charged him with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. His name has not been released due to his age. Continue Reading

Police: Teen painted sexual references in Catholic school

Updated 3:18 pm, Monday, February 19, 2018 SHELTON, Conn. (AP) — Shelton Police say they have arrested a 14-year-old for breaking into a Catholic school and spray painting sexual references on lockers, desks and classroom walls. Detective Richard Bango says the boy was arrested Monday for the Feb. 2 break-in at the Holy Trinity Catholic School. He says the vandalism was so bad that damages exceeded $4,000 and school had to be canceled for a day. The boy's name was not released. He was charged with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief and released to the custody of his parents. Continue Reading

Catholic school teacher with ‘alt-right’ views fired

A Catholic school substitute teacher in Maryland was fired after his students exposed his “alt-right" views online. Students at the all-girl Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington first exposed Gregory Conte after discovering his Twitter profile that showed his white nationalist views, according to WTTG-TV. The school’s ex-field hockey coach used the name “Gregory Ritter” on Twitter, and his account description said he’s the director of operations at the National Policy Institute, which white supremacist Richard Spencer runs. Links to “Alt-Right Politics” podcasts on altright.com are often shared on his page as well. Conte’s students also found footage of him attending the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last summer. The school knew about his “alt-right” views since October, WTTG reported, but didn’t say why it waited until January to fire him. Last week, the school sent letters to parents informing them about Conte’s firing and saying his views didn’t impact the students. Conte told WJLA-TV he wasn’t surprised the school booted him and mentioned he was open about “being pro-Trump, pro-Putin” and being proud of his European ancestry. “I don’t regret it,” he told WTTG. “I obviously liked working at the school, and I miss everybody, but I understand the political situation and I expected them to act as they did.” Some students were shocked to learn their teacher had “alt-right” views. “I’m upset. I didn’t know he had this double life but it’s also shocking because I wouldn’t think that in this century there are people still like that out there,” one student told the station. Others noticed he had a preference for Russian literature. “During class, he would read Russian books or books about Putin and stuff like that,” another student said. Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Family of boy who hanged himself sues Brooklyn Catholic school for ignoring bullying

The family of a bullied boy who killed himself last year recalled his final hours Wednesday as they announced a lawsuit against the Brooklyn Catholic school they claim ignored the abuse. Daniel Fitzpatrick, 13, slipped a belt around his neck and hanged himself in the attic of his Staten Island home on Aug. 11, after months of relentless bullying at the hands of students and even several teachers, a lawsuit charges. The Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, along with Principal Rosemarie McGoldrick and the Diocese of Brooklyn, were named as defendants for also failing to enforce their anti-bullying program. The principal couldn’t be reached on Wednesday. A diocese spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment. The chairman of the school’s board, citing pending litigation, said he couldn’t talk about the lawsuit. Meanwhile, the boy’s sister, Kristen, who found Daniel’s lifeless body, recalled the horror of his death. And she recalled a tender moment they shared hours before he ended his life. “I had to get on the computer so I kicked him off, but before he got off the computer he just gave me a hug and kiss said ‘I love you, Kristen,’” the sister told the Daily News. Hours later, she went to look for Daniel, but couldn’t find him in the house. “I wondered if he had a guitar lesson I didn’t know about. Then I went to the last room I thought to look, which was the attic. Why would he be there, an empty room? I went up there, saw his legs, told him come down. I said ‘Danny!’ He wasn’t moving, I ran to him to try and pick him up. I panicked. Called my parents, they didn’t pick up at first. I was hysterical, scared, called 911. I was freaking out that day, I was hysterical. I couldn’t handle it. It was really scary. I didn’t know what to do.” McGoldrick, board chairman Michael Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Holy Cross High School alum’s family saves teen football phenom’s dreams of gridiron glory

A 14-year-old football phenom’s dreams of gridiron glory were saved Sunday thanks to a Hail Mary of generosity from the family of an alum. Tyriek Dodd received a $50,000 scholarship that will allow him to continue playing wide receiver for the Holy Cross High School Knights. After his father’s death last year, the teen and his family had no way to pay his tuition. The money came courtesy of the friends and family of Rudy Krizan, who excelled in both sports and academics at Holy Cross, and who died last year of pancreatic cancer at the age of 67. Tyriek — who is already 6-foot-5 and 195 lbs. — shared his gratitude to Krizan’s widow, Patty Reimerdes, and said he intends to make plays for his dad and Krizan. “I have someone to play for now — my father and her husband — I have someone on my shoulder and I’m going to take that with pride,” Dodd said. “It feels like I know what I’m going to do because before I wasn’t sure I was even going to go to school a couple months ago.” On Sunday, before the Knights triumphed 20-14 in overtime against the St. John the Baptist Cougars, Dodd met Reimerdes, 64, for the first time. “I think this was a God thing — Rudy passes and his father passes,” Reimerdes said. “This was meant to be.” Dodd’s father, Clement Seymour Dodd Jr., died Feb. 5, 2015, at age 57, from sarcoma after three years of fighting the rare form of cancer. The loss left the playmaker without his role model. “He was only male figure I had in the family,” said Tyriek, who has three older sisters. “I’m the only son in the family, so he played a big part in who I am.” Tyriek’s mother worried about how she would keep her son in the Catholic school in Queens after her husband died. Continue Reading

Philadelphia educator, fired from Catholic school because she’s gay, appeals to Pope Francis for audience during his upcoming visit to the City of Brotherly Love

A teacher who was fired by a Philadelphia-area Catholic school after parents of several students found out she was married to another woman, hopes to take her plight to Pope Francis. A letter is on its way to the Apostolic Palace detailing Margie Winters’ termination from Waldron Mercy Academy after eight “joy-filled years” of employment at the private K-8 school. “Her offense? She was asked to leave because we are married and, according to Church, teaching, living in sin,” wrote Winters’ wife, Andrea Vettori. The couple is blaming Winters’ dismissal from the school on what is believed to be at least one complaint loged by one parent with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Their lengthy plea questions the seeming exclusion of women and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender in Church doctrine. “I ask you, I beg you, I implore you to ask God to reveal to you the next steps,” Vettori wrote to the pontiff. “Not just for Margie and myself, but for the injustices that have been done in the name of our faith against gay and lesbian members of the Church throughout the United States and the world whose only ‘sin’ was to be true to the love God placed within them.” “I don’t know if he’ll get it,” Vettori said of the letter she provided to the Daily News. The Holy See will visit the United States for the first time in September, and one of his stops is the City of Brotherly Love to convene the World Meeting of Families. The conference is expected to attract more than 1.5 million people. He will also visit NYC to address the United Nations and meet with President Obama in Washington, D.C. Margie Winters, Wife Appeal to Pope (PDF) Margie Winters, Wife Appeal to Pope (Text) “We would love to meet (the pope) and let him get to know us and hopefully advocate for us as well,” Winters Continue Reading

Closures of Catholic schools in the Bronx sadden alumni

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden. She’s a product of Bronx Catholic schools and the Bronxdale Houses, and there she was at the Capitol for the inauguration, with all manner of statesmen and celebrities and children of privilege. And there she was the next day, on the Jon Stewart show, plugging her memoirs, in which she speaks of her time at Blessed Sacrament School in Soundview. And the next day, The New York Archdiocese said it will close that school in June. Paul LaRosa, former Daily News reporter and a CBS news producer, wrote his memoirs last year, about coming of age in the Monroe Houses, and going to Blessed Sacrament School. He and other alumni had tried to help the school survive, to no avail. “It’s really sad and unfortunate,” LaRosa said of the closure. “It highlights the inequality of New York in general. People in Manhattan can spend $50,000 on pre-K, and people in the Bronx can’t afford $4,000-a-year tuition. “President Obama in his inauguration speech talked about the importance of education, and how we have to overcome inequalities. And now the Archdiocese is closing all these schools. Blessed Sacrament is surrounded by housing projects; it serves lower-income Hispanics.” The New York Archdiocese is also closing Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Angels, Our Lady of Mercy, St. Jerome (which nurtured immigrants, from sons of Irish potato famine refugees to today’s Mexicans), St. Anthony (acclaimed writer John Patrick Shanley’s alma mater and the inspiration for his great play and movie “Doubt”) and St. Mary Star of the Sea. All of them in the Bronx. They are among the latest batch of Archdiocese schools to close forever. The number of students at the schools announced for closure is 4,341, which represents almost 9 percent of those enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in the Continue Reading

Adopted! Doreen Auzenne, Holy Family Catholic School

This teacher has been adopted by Louis & Susan Simon.Teacher: Doreen AuzenneSchool: Holy Family Catholic SchoolGrade/Subject: 5th-8th Grades (Math/PreAlgebra) From the Teacher:I have been a teacher for 13 years. I did not always want to be a teacher. I received my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Journalism and Mass Communications. After working in this field for a few years, I did not feel fulfilled and found myself substitute teaching.After only a few days, I realized that teaching was what I was meant to do. I taught 4 years and then married my middle school army sweetheart and moved out of the country. After his retirement, we moved back to Lafayette and resumed begin my teaching career at HFCS.HFCS is an African American Catholic school founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family over 100 years ago. Our school once functioned as an elementary and high school. There are several prominent figures in our community who are alumni of our school. Our school is rich in history and faith but lack some resources. A great number of our students are on scholarship and free lunch so I am often purchasing supplies that they lack.Incoming teachers get $50 in their classroom funds their first year. After this, we have a yearly fall festival (an on campus carnival) where we must create games, sell items, and solicit funds to increase our classroom fund. If we are lucky enough to make money, these funds are what we use to buy supplies for our classrooms. If we do not make money, we must use our personal funds to buy things needed (for me it's replenishing pencils throughout the year because I require only pencils to be used in math; calculators, facial tissue, hand sanitizer, etc).My students fuel me. Their desire to thrive is remarkable. What we lack financially is replaced by our faith and love of learning. But having these items listed would make learning so much easier! Thanks in advance for your consideration! Wish list: If you're interested in adopting a teacher, Continue Reading

Two Brooklyn Catholic schools to merge; parents concerned about building

Two Windsor Terrace Catholic elementary schools are closing their doors and re-opening as one next year as part of a major restructuring plan, the Daily News has learned. Holy Name of Jesus on Prospect Park West and The Immaculate Heart of Mary on Fort Hamilton Parkway will close at the end of the school year and re-open with a board of directors made up of religious and non-religious staff, officials said. The move is part of the Brooklyn Diocese’s money-saving plan to turn all Catholic elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens into academies by 2017. “It’s sort of like a marriage - two families coming together,” said Holy Name of Jesus principal Joan Caccamo. Caccamo said she and Immaculate Heart of Mary principal Maureen Rooney broke the news to parents and faculty at meetings on their schools last Friday. The new school - to be called Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy - will operate out of the building on Prospect Park West, with more than 400 students in e pre-k through eighth grade. The diocese has turned to the academy model to alleviate the financial burden on parishes of running schools, diocese officials said. Academies use a volunteer board of directors to oversee school finances and coordinate fundraising and marketing. Saint Savior and Saint Francis Xavier in Park Slope will also turn into academies next year, but will not be merged, officials said. So far, 17 Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens have been converted into academies, officials said. The remaining 80 schools will become academies over the next five years, diocese officials said. “As the diocese of Brooklyn continues the mission to provide excellence in Catholic education, we are excited to work with our parents and professionals who seek to give back,” said Brooklyn Diocese spokeswoman Stefanie Gutierrez. Parents at the Immaculate Heart of Mary school said they were optimistic yet concerned about the move Continue Reading

Back to the Neighborhood Reunion will help raise funds to save Catholic schools

It takes a neighborhood to save a neighborhood. That's why there's gonna be another Back to the Neighborhood Reunion celebration in Windsor Terrace on April 10 at Bishop Ford High School. This time the price is $75 and all proceeds go to help save the Bishop Ford High scholarship fund and the Holy Name School from closing like so many other Catholic schools in the diocese. Don't miss it. The last time Windsor Terrace had a Back to the Neighborhood Reunion on April 9, 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles got married over in that Windsor Castle in England. That's a drafty old 484,000- square-foot dump with a blood- soaked history. Bishop Ford here in Windsor Terrace on the other hand is one of the great Catholic high schools of Brooklyn, built with $2-a-week-pledge envelopes dropped by working families into the long-handled wicker collection baskets at local churches back in the early-1960s. Since 1962, Bishop Ford has been turning neighborhood kids into solid citizens with Christian values of tolerance, compassion and helping the less fortunate, some with scholarships. So we were already way ahead in the venue and values department here in Brooklyn. And there was never going to be a lot of conflicts between the two invitation lists. After all, Charlie was a mere Prince of Windsor and Camilla the lowly Duchess of Freeload, or whatever, with a guest list of a mere 800 royals, dignitaries and celebrities including Joan Rivers. Our invitations weren't embossed with a royal seal. They were flyers handed out in Farrell's bar, and presented here in this humble space, between quote marks from Sir James Houlihan, aka Houlie, part owner of the bar on Prospect Park West. He's not exactly a baron, but one helluva bartender, who said, "If you grew up here in Windsor Terrace or if you attended Holy Name, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop Ford, PS 154, PS 10s, or drank in Farrell's, we'd love to see you for a reunion celebrating the old neighborhood we all Continue Reading