Escondido Union High School District in California broke with precedent in 1997 by requiring all students to attend classes on Good Friday. San Diego chapter president Carl Horst objected and pressed school officials for a response.

In a new release on this subject, Horst addressed the school district’s change in policy: “The fact that the change was made with no apparent concern for the religious beliefs of the Christian community would alone warrant serious inquiry. The fact that this change in policy occurs about two years after great care was taken to adjust the school schedule in recognition of the Jewish holy days suggests the school administration is at least insensitive and at worst intolerant of Christianity.”

Horst’s action triggered a letter from Dr. Jane D. Gawronski, superintendent of schools for the Escondido district. She said that “we are giving serious consideration to fashioning our future spring breaks as St. Mary’s Church of Escondido has done.” She went on to say that “we will look at assigning Good Friday as Spring Holiday and it will be a non-instructional day on our school calendar.”

We hope that more than “serious consideration” and a “look” at a policy change occurs. What we are “looking” at is a permanent policy change that respects the rights of Catholic students. Many thanks to Rev. Peter J. Navarra, pastor of St. Mary’s, for bringing this case to our attention.

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