San Francisco Catholic High School Students Demonstrate Against Pro-Life Assembly | Catholic National Register


Tim Reardon, the school’s acting president, said he had since received “many notes from those in the community who appreciate that we provide the Catholic position. [on] this highly polarizing subject.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif .– Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco staged a walkout last month to protest an all-schools assembly that included a pro-life speaker.

Despite the students‘ actions, the school president defended the speech as “an opportunity to come together to learn more about the dignity of human life”.

Archbishop Riordan’s High School, which is administered by the Society of Mary, held an All Schools Assembly on October 22 with pro-life speaker Megan Almon.

Almon travels the country with the Life Training Institute, a pro-life Christian organization whose lectures aim to “equip others with the knowledge and conviction to champion a life that changes hearts and minds.”

According to an account of the incident by the Chronicle of San Francisco, the students began to exit the auditorium and proceed to an adjacent gymnasium approximately “five minutes” after the start of the presentation, leaving “a few dozen of the more than 800 students in the school” in the auditorium for the whole conference.

The walkout has since gained media attention after a video of the walkout went viral, with several hundred thousand views on TikTok.

“My school tried to organize a pro-life assembly,” reads onscreen video of a crowd of masked students, “So we went out.”

The the Chronicle interviewed several students who identified themselves as pro-choice and found the pro-life discourse “frustrating,” in particular, they said, Almon’s comparison of the number of babies killed in abortions to the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Tim Reardon, the school’s acting president, told CNA in an email that he has since received “many notes from those in the community who appreciate that we provide the Catholic position. [on] this highly polarizing subject.

“Many parents sent their children to Catholic school so that children could learn more about Catholic social education. Avoiding these topics would be a failure to serve these people, ”Reardon wrote in the email to CNA.

A student interviewed by the the Chronicle, who stayed for the presentation but asked not to be identified, said she was “happy to hear a point of view that she doesn’t often get in her social circles.”

Riordan High School became a mixed institution from the 2020-2021 school year, having previously been a boys-only school.

According to the Chronicle, the school wrote in an email to parents before the conference: “The administration is aware that not all of Riordan’s students are Catholic. We understand that we live in a society where people have strong and disparate opinions on all the categories attributed to this theme… Our speaker will be here simply to explain the Catholic position, mainly regarding abortion. We ask all students to respectfully listen to the speaker, who is nationally recognized for her work on this topic.

Reardon, the school president, told CNA he sent a video message to students on Oct. 25 “stressing the importance of listening and considering both sides of important issues.”

Catholic education on abortion is featured in the school’s religious studies curriculum, Reardon said, “so there was more discussion in the classrooms.”

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