For several years revelations have come out in the press of sexual misconduct uncovered in so-called "elite" New England prep schools. St Paul's School in Concord, NH was one of the first to be exposed. Several others followed.
Then it came to my own school, now called Choate Rosemary Hall of Wallingford, CT. It stung to see it.
Then, a week or so ago, a letter came from the school, addressed to the Choate Rosemary Hall community.
It was clearly an attempt to be transparent. The letter included the findings of an investigative law firm. They named names and what they had done. It went all the way back to the 1940's when I was a student there. Several names were of teachers on the faculty at that time. I winced at every name.
I wrote the current Head of School to say I was a student leader in those days, and that I am grieved to read what their letter revealed.
So much one could say. These were things that should never have happened. But I chose to lift up one fact that would probably not be discussed or even thought to be relevant by those who will go about now, trying to make the school "safe" for any young teen-age boys or girls whose parents might consider sending their child to this school whose reputation had once been so fine.
I centered on THE CHAPEL. There was a line in a poem about the school and its spirit and its moral foundation. The line went, "And this is the chapel. Here, my son, your father thought the thoughts of youth."
The assumption was that the chapel was not only the most central and most beautiful building in the school, but that it was, in fact, the heart of the school, the place where young people were taught and presented with truths that would encourage them to think about the deepest things of life.
That church, and the things of faith, and of God, are not nothing. They are, in fact the very foundation of life. They point the way to a selfless life, a life of service, a life of hope and promise.
The faith way is often diminished. We are still captivated by all the Enlightenment ideas of man as the master of his fate, of human ability, skill, and intelligence being the foundation for a successful, happy life. Yet that, in the end, proves almost always illusory.
I don't expect an answer to my letter. But, I decided I wanted to be one who says it because it's true, and because the lives of young people are important. And because education is far more than what classrooms and playing fields, by themselves, offer.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES