- Student Life
As an integral part of its Catholic, Jesuit mission, St. Louis University High School is committed to cultivating a safe school climate in which equity and inclusion are shared and celebrated guiding values. The school has announced several new initiatives that complement a comprehensive program aimed at fostering an environment of involvement, respect and connection.
“SLUH has the capacity – and obligation – to be a major force for racial justice in the St. Louis region, giving greater glory to God by reconciling with our sinful past and demonstrating our Christian value for the lives of black St. Louisans,” says SLUH Principal Fr. Ian Gibbons, SJ. “The spiritual formation, academic excellence and generous attitude of service that SLUH seeks to impart to its students can be put toward mending the racial wounds of our history.”
This school year the SLUH community will focus on the Jesuit Schools Network’s ‘Graduate at Graduation’ theme of Committed to Doing Justice. Students, faculty and staff will discuss and learn more about this topic – including racial justice – through programming and all-school assemblies. In addition, SLUH is looking at ways to integrate the regrettable history of Jesuit slaveholding into its curriculum. The school's commitment to impart these difficult but necessary teachings to its students is inspired by a recent project co-sponsored by the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. & Canada and Saint Louis University aiming to address their history with those held in slavery while seeking reconciliation with their descendants.
“We believe that every human being is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at all times,” says SLUH President Alan Carruthers. “In that spirit, we are committed to creating lasting and positive change at SLUH by cultivating an environment of involvement, respect and connection – where the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are harnessed to create lasting value for all in our community.”
Some new initiatives aimed at promoting equity and inclusion at SLUH include:
- Launched a Black Student Union to the school’s club offerings, along with several other affinity groups for students of color, while maintaining the very successful Association for Cultural Enrichment at SLUH (ACES) group as an umbrella organization. ACES promotes awareness and discussion of diversity at SLUH, while making all students feel welcome.
- Started the Parent Association for Cultural Enrichment at SLUH (PACES), which advises school leadership, supports equity and inclusion initiatives and welcomes families.
- Created a Board of Trustees sub-committee composed of Board members, parents and alumni of color, charged with identifying and overseeing the implementation of improvements in the school's commitment to equity and inclusion.
- Enhanced efforts to help all parents, especially parents of color, feel welcome and invited to become involved with the Mothers Club and Fathers Club.
- Created Fr. Kellett’s Closet, an initiative to provide essential clothing items to students in need.
- Installing prominent ‘Alumni Trailblazers’ display to celebrate the achievements of exemplary graduates of color.
- Pursuing partnership with St. Charles Lwanga Center, which promotes Catholic teaching, Catholic spiritual formation and leadership development, including advocacy for justice and racial equity concerns within the Black Catholic Community and for all who collaborate with them.
These new initiatives complement a variety of existing partnerships and program (>>> learn more), including robust financial aid, advancing equity and inclusion at SLUH.
“We recognize cultural challenges and frustrations still exist in our nation, in our city, and at our school,” says Carruthers. “We use this as motivation to continually pursue ways to bridge barriers and build the Kingdom of God, in which, as St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’”
The school’s commitment to providing an inclusive environment is complemented by measures to ensure safety and security for all students throughout campus. Some recent updates and improvements include:
- All security staff completed training and licensing.
- Partnered with CrisisGo, a safety platform that helps with communication, community engagement and crisis management, in addition to an anonymous reporting mechanism for security threats and bullying.
- Professional Development plan continues to increase knowledge base, with plans to educate and train faculty/staff at in-services meetings.
- Increased frequency of emergency drills.
- Created Security Team for faculty/staff and students to discuss, evaluate and think proactively about security.
- Added referrals to discipline reporting.
- Finalized an Emergency Operation Plan.
- Assembling Reunification Kits in the event of a crisis requiring campus evacuation.
- Cameras continue to be upgraded and placed strategically throughout campus.
SLUH continually integrates best practices and pursues new ideas to instill safety and security. The school is currently implementing a comprehensive plan (>>> learn more), which includes a variety of initiatives over the next five years.