News

Media Statement by Fr. Andrew Leung, CSB, Interim President, St. Michael’s College School – December 13, 2018

FR. ANDREW LEUNG’S STATEMENT

Hello everyone. My name is Fr. Andrew Leung, interim President at St. Michael’s College School. Thank you for joining me today.

Since arriving at the school a little over two weeks ago, I have worked hard to meet with and listen to students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and members of our school community.

My goal has been to understand the truth, even if it is hard to hear, because only then can we move forward in a meaningful way.

I am deeply committed to complete transparency through this journey and do so with great faith, hope and a firm resolve to continue to earn the trust of our community in an effort to strengthen our culture of positivity and respect.

To that end, we have implemented a series of important measures over the past month, as we strive to turn the pain of these incidents into an opportunity to grow, heal and make lasting, impactful change.

Every one of our decisions has been based on one guiding principle: the safety and well-being of our students.

These measures include:

First and foremost, we formed a Respect and Culture Review committee as mandated by our Board. This panel will conduct an independent examination into behavior, social practices, policies, protocols and compliance at our school. A final report is due in the Summer of 2019.

Second, we cancelled the Junior and Varsity football seasons for the 2019-2020 academic year, as well as cancellation of the 2018-19 varsity basketball season.
This was an incredibly hard decision but necessary to show how serious we are about change.

Third, we have introduced anonymous reporting tools including a voice-mail tip line, and an app, so that our students can report any misconduct or questionable behavior they witness.

Fourth, every one of our 1,060 students will have soon completed mandatory themed workshops on building awareness and respect, coping and resilience.

Fifth, a Respect and Culture website to provide news and as a tool for the community to share ideas. You can find it at smcsrespectandculture.com.

Sixth, we have also hosted 19 community town halls to provide groups our community with transparent, fact-based information about developments and future plans, while listening to their important feedback.

Seventh, we continue to work on bolstering our mentorship program.

And finally, we are expanding our curriculum to build on learning modules established since 2014, through our collaboration with the White Ribbon organization. This program is focused on topics including: healthy masculinities, gender norms, consent, responsible digital citizenship and appropriate bystander behavior.

There are many other steps underway as part of our Action Plan. These are detailed on our website.

As a school community, we want to take what we have learned and share it with the larger discourse in society around building cultures of respect and positivity.

We remain resolute in ensuring that every St. Michael’s College School experience is transformational and positive — as it has been for an overwhelming majority of our students and graduates for 166 years.

Thank you.