A couple who made a large donation to a Catholic school in Tampa, Florida, is suing for the money back, alleging the school has lost its way by pushing “woke culture.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported that in 2017, when the couple had two daughters attending the Academy of the Holy Names, they offered the school $1.35 million.
Anthony and Barbara Scarpo said they “cherished” the academy and wanted to give money to allow disadvantaged kids a way in through scholarships. The Academy of Holy Names even renamed its auditorium the “Scarpo Family Theatre.”
Four years later, the love affair is over, thanks to the school’s pushing of divisive racial politics, according to the parents. One of their daughters has graduated and the couple has pulled their other daughter out of the exclusive academy.
According to the Scarpos, the school has defrauded them by going against its Catholic values. Anthony Scarpo wrote a letter to the school following the graduation of his oldest daughter.
“The continued indoctrination of your twisted version of social and racial justice, equity, inclusion, sexuality and today’s politically correct narrative has permeated like a stench through the halls of the Academy and been allowed to seep into the minds of our children, causing stress, anger, guilt and confusion,” he wrote.
“You were always eager to solicit our hard-earned money and take what you could but held firm as you dragged dozens if not hundreds of conservative families and teachers through your reimagined, highly progressive world, even as parents and students asked you … pleaded with you to stop, slow down.”
According to the couple, the Academy of the Holy Names has “lost its way.”
In a 45-page lawsuit, the couple is asking for its donation money back, saying the administration has embraced “woke culture” while separating itself from mainstream Catholicism. The couple said “gender identity, human sexuality and pregnancy termination among other hot button issues,” are now being taught over the traditional curriculum.
The Scarpos even allege that white students, such as their children, and those who can afford tuition to the school, have faced being shamed.
“The lawsuit makes clear the couple’s displeasure with the way the school has dealt with issues of race, saying students are made to feel guilty for being white and having enough money to attend the academy,” the Times reported. “In addition to asking for a return of the pledged donation, the lawsuit seeks a tuition refund.”
The Scarpos additionally are asking the Florida Catholic Conference to pull the school’s accreditation and are asking the Academy of the Holy Names to immediately stop portraying itself as a Catholic school.
The school’s attorney called the lawsuit a publicity stunt and wants to force the Scarpos to pay their full $1.35 million pledge, vowing to countersue if the couple doesn’t drop the lawsuit.
“We can discern no motivation behind the lawsuit other than attention-seeking by your clients, and a desire by you to build a brand,” attorney Gregory Hearing wrote in a letter to the Scarpos’ legal counsel.
“For a court to delve into whether the substance of matters taught by a Catholic school are consistent with a Catholic education would entangle the court in excessively religious matters, and thereby violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Hearing added. “That we should need to educate you on this is absurd.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Scarpos have paid $240,000 of their pledge and have also raised $9 million for the school. The school, according to the Scarpos, has pushed on white students the idea that “their families are personally responsible for the historic harm(s) some members of our society have visited on other members of our society.”
The Academy of the Holy Names has also allegedly encouraged its Catholic students to become “allies” for the LGBT movement.
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