CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD COMMANDS INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION

Catalyst November Issue 2005

Very Reverend Philip Eichner is the chairman of the board of directors of the Catholic League, and he is also the president of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, Long Island. He, and the school’s principal, Brother Kenneth Hoagland, made a decision recently that caught the attention of the media worldwide: they decided to cancel the senior prom.

In his letter to the parents of the students, Hoagland stressed that the prom “is so much beyond our control that it is mere tokenism to put our name on it.” He added that the school would no longer “assume moral and legal responsibility for something that has a life of its own independent” of the school. We are “willing to sponsor a prom,” he said, “but not an orgy.”

Father Eichner and Brother Hoagland put much of the blame on the parents. “It would not have gotten this far if a significant portion of parents, either explicitly or tacitly, did not accept it or tolerate it,” Hoagland said. Specific instances of excess were cited. He also hit on the effects of materialism: “Aside from the bacchanalian aspects of the prom—alcohol/sex/drugs—there is a root problem for all this and it is affluence.” He specifically mentioned that “The prom has become the occasion of conspicuous consumption—from dress, to limousines, to entertainment.”

Literally thousands of people, from all over the country, contacted Kellenberg to express their opinion about this matter: the correspondence ran about 9-1 in support of the decision to cancel the prom. Below is a partial list of media outlets that ran this story:

The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 10-20
“The O’Reilly Factor” (Fox News Channel), 10-19
Fox News, 10-18, 10-19
The Guardian (London), 10-18, 10-19
Channel 1 (Long Island) 10-19
“Good Morning America” (ABC), 10-18
CNN News, 10-18
Black Hills Pioneer (South Dakota), 10-19
MSNBC News, 10-18
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), 10-18
CBS News, 10-18
ABC News, 10-18
Relevant Radio, 10-18
National Post (Canada), 10-18
BBC (Britain), 10-18
New York Daily News, 10-18
Huntsville Times, 10-18
Crosswalk.com, 10-18
PhillyBurbs.com, 10-18
Chicago Tribune, 10-17
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10-17
MTV.com, 10-17
Seattle Times, 10-17
“Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees” (CNN), 10-17
“The Situation with Tucker Carlson” (MSNBC), 10-17
“The Situation Room” (CNN), 10-17
CNN News, 10-17
CNN Daybreak, 10-17
Rocky Mountain News (Denver), 10-17
Associated Press, 10-16
Monterey County Herald, 10-16
New York Times, 10-16
Associated Press, 10-15
Sun-Sentinel (Florida), 10-10
Newsday, 9-29;9-30; 10-10;10-11;10-14;10-18


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Written by Bill