Make Maranatha Better
Make Maranatha Better
Why this petition matters
An Open Letter to MHS
Two years ago, we began a good faith dialogue to address the issues of systemic racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, and spiritual abuse at MHS. We brought decades of our stories and experiences to the attention of the school, only to receive no follow up and action. We have tried engaging in discussions that resulted in no changes to policies or practices.
Maranatha High School has shown that it puts more effort into covering up potential scandals than addressing their systemic causes. It routinely devalues the experience of victims including marginalized groups like the international students, students of color, victims of sexual assault, and students with learning disabilities just to name a few. MHS leadership consistently refuses to take ownership of mistakes, choosing instead to give justifications of its own actions and marketing their “successes” without acknowledging the sustained efforts of marginalized groups to make things like student affinity groups and heritage month celebrations happen.
The most abhorrent of their behavior is the continued use of underhanded bullying tactics to keep victims silent. This has included the dismissal of outspoken faculty members and faculty from marginalized groups, the pressuring of students who speak out to transfer to another school, and international students silenced with threats to have their visas pulled.
Maranatha High School leadership, and especially John Rouse have shown that none of these dialogues have actually been conducted in good faith. MHS continues to align itself with white supremacy and bigotry while telling marginalized groups to “not act out and not be so sensitive”. We are tired of justifying our existence and condescendingly being told that our experiences are not reality. Maranatha has cultivated a deserved reputation that it cares more about tuition money than students.
The “efforts” that the school has put in, including the formation of the C.A.R.E. Team has been woefully ineffective and a form of tokenism at best. John Rouse has been part of Maranatha for decades and should recognize how he is continuing the pattern of making unjust decisions, pushing out good teachers and victimized students.
It is time for a change. Maranatha High School and John Rouse in particular need to stop hiding behind their lies. The institution must make a choice about what it is going to be, who will be included, and why it exists. Is the mission of the school to be a reflection of God or will the school continue to shape God in its own image into a white supremist bigot?
We have concluded that MHS has no desire to change unless it is pressured to. Below are our demands, and we will not be silenced.
These are our demands:
1. We demand the immediate removal of John Rouse as Head of School. After his removal, a new amendment to the MHS policies must be established to have all future MHS Heads of School be selected by a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds.
2. We demand that MHS creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.
3. We demand that by the academic year 2024-25, MHS increases the percentage of faculty and staff members of color campus-wide by 25 percent.
4. We demand that MHS compose a strategic 10-year plan by August 1, 2022 that will increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training, and promote a more safe and inclusive campus.
5. We demand that MHS increase funding and resources for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals, particularly those of color, boosting mental health outreach and programming across campus, including mental health training for faculty and staff.
6. We demand that MHS increase funding, resources and personnel for social justice initiatives on campus for the purpose of hiring additional professionals, particularly those of color, boosting outreach and programming across campus and increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility.
Concerned community members of MHS including current and former students, parents, faculty, and staff