On Jan. 28, 2022, Carondelet High School’s “DEI Council” hosted a “Community During Community” cultural festival that included a station for students to make pronoun buttons and a “Gender Identities” presentation in the school’s new Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation STEM building.
Parents contacted Parents Defending Education with concerns about the event, where students were given a passport to collect stamps and redeem for prizes as they visited various booths hosted by some of the student groups on campus, including the school’s Horizon GSA club.
According to the Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network), a national organization of high school clubs on campuses across the country, GSAs are “next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organizations that empower and train trans, queer, and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement.”
Carondelet, a Catholic all-girls high school in the Catholic Diocese of Oakland, Calif. is located in Contra Costa County on the northern tip of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most expensive places to live in the nation, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The Diocese of Oakland’s website explains that the mission of its Catholic schools is to “educate children in the Catholic faith and nurture their minds, bodies, and souls.”
Carondelet High School was founded in 1965 by a congregation of Catholic nuns called the The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph from the town of Carondelet, Missouri, which is now a neighborhood of St. Louis.
In spring 2021, the Jean Hofmann Center building was used to host Carondelet’s celebration of “Pride Month” during the last two weeks of May. During the two-week celebration, eight different LGBTQ+ flags hung in the school’s brick-lined iconic inner court on campus “to show that there are more gender expressions and identities than just the ones commonly brought up.”
At one event held during the school’s “Pride” celebration, the Hofmann Center’s giant media wall, which is nearly the size of a movie theater screen, featured music and a slideshow with “images and descriptions of different influential people in the LGBTQ+ community,” including the youth trans activist Jazz Jennings. Jennings underwent “sex reassignment surgery” — which was fraught with serious medical complications –at age 17.
A mother of a Carondelet High School senior told Parents Defending Education:
“The event seemed like a days-long promotional commercial for dangerous transgender ideology.” She continued, “I am concerned because the school has gone well past just welcoming. Celebrations like these create confusion for our daughters who are adjusting to their natural sexual development. And they are contrary to our Catholic faith.”
The mother said when she expressed her concerns to Carondelet’s principal, she was directed to the Sisters of St. Joseph website, which includes a statement to “stand in solidarity with and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in our quest for inclusion and justice.”
Tuition at Carondelet is $20,745 for the 2021-2022 academic year.
At the building’s groundbreaking in 2018, donor Lisa Hofmann Morgan said the Hofmann Center would be a place “where young women can stretch their minds.” According to its IRS tax filing, the foundation held $34.7 million in assets as of the 2019 tax year.
On the school’s “Her Education” webpage, Carondelet bills itself as an all-girls high school:
“At the heart of this sisterhood is our Catholic tradition, rooted in the mission of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ): to create an inclusive environment that embraces all students, welcomes diversity, and values social justice, empathy, service, and gratitude.”