Sept. 27, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Catholic schools in Queens and Brooklyn are now teaching a new social justice curriculum that aims to teach students about tolerance and respect.
The schools started teaching the new curriculum last week as the Brooklyn Diocese, which oversees Catholic schools in Queens and Brooklyn, aims to address topics such as hate and racism.
The new curriculum involves monthly lessons and conversations on social justice, race, tolerance and equality, according to Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, the Bishop of Brooklyn. The initiative was prompted by a 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virg., where a racist rallygoer deliberately drove his car into a crowd of protestors killing a woman.
“This school year, we are introducing a curriculum in response to the difficulties we have witnessed in our communities and in our nation,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “Within the last year, the significant increase in overt acts of hate and racism is alarming.”
The new curriculum has become a component of religious classes at all Catholic school institutions in the diocese.
Educators are focusing on a different theme each month. For instance, “solidarity” is the basis for this month’s lessons and students are asked to share their personal experiences on the topic.
The curriculum will also incorporate literature, art and activities to deliver the lessons, the Diocese said.
Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said that the curriculum is critical to advancing the values of respect for one another and love of fellow man.
“It is important to teach our students the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding if we are to look to bring an end to the tension and uneasiness that exists in our society due to racism,” Chadzutko said.