Save beloved teacher Ms. Mary DeVoto (formerly Mrs. Rahman)

Save beloved teacher Ms. Mary DeVoto (formerly Mrs. Rahman)

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Petition to
Mother McAuley High School Alumni and

Why this petition matters

Started by Stephanie Rahman

Dear McAuley Alums (or in my mother's words- Lambchops),

Yesterday January 31, 2022, my mother, Mary DeVoto (previously Mary Rahman) was fired by Mother McAuley after 41 years of service to the school and her community.  Last Friday, she was teaching World History and was introducing a unit on Native American cultures.  This started a discussion about sports teams (Cleveland Indians, Fighting Illini, Washington Redskins, etc) changing their names.  A student asked why "Redskins" is so bad.  My mother responded that calling a Native American a "redskin" is akin to calling another person a N-word (she used the full term).  A few students contacted their parents and inquired at McAuley.  Another student was recording the lecture and sent the audio to another student and it was shared to Facebook.

Before my mom had knowledge of the social media campaign, she met with Principal Eileen O'Reilly and apologized.  She said that she should not have used the word in its entirety and should have found a better way to explain the derogatory nature of the term "redskins."  Her intent was to obviously show that both words were terrible and should never be said.  My mom was suspended and walked off-campus.  She was later called and told that they would have a meeting on Monday to discuss further.  They spoke with students in the class on Friday.

On Monday, my mom met with Principal O'Reilly and both Vice Principals and again expressed her apologies.  She asked to make a public apology, stand in front of her class, and apologize.  She asked, "what can I do to make this better?"  She was called one hour later and fired.  

My mother has dedicated her career to Mother McAuley.  My two sisters and I attended Mother McAuley.  Mary DeVoto is a wonderful teacher, person, and asset to her community.  She is not a racist.  She has raised two biracial daughters and one Indian daughter as a single mother.  She hugged me and taught me to be brave and face my peers when in 7th grade they refused to call me by name.  The boys in my class referring to me only as "A-rab."  Mary DeVoto called out store clerks when they followed my dark-skinned sister around the store in both Ridge and Evergreen Mall.  The list goes on and on.

Mary DeVoto has taught and nurtured thousands of students over her 41 years.  She has never been accused of racism.  Whenever I meet someone who was taught by my mom I hear: "she was the best teacher I ever had" or "I learned the most in one semester for Mrs. DeVoto/Rahman than in all of grade school."  She is notorious for being a tough but fair teacher.  She has also shared her passion for knitting and started a knitting club on Friday afternoons.  Thousands of girls have learned and donated blankets to Courage (an organization dedicated to helping young pregnant women).  She is a living example of Catherine McAuley's mission.  

I am asking you to please help my mother.  My family and my mother are heartbroken.   Do not let this one moment ruin the legacy of a 41-year career.  Please sign this petition to Mother McAuley to reconsider her termination.  

Also, I know my mom would love to hear from all of you. Please email any stories from your days in her class, pictures of you and her, pictures of things you have knit to   Don't forget your name and graduation year.  I will compile all of these stores and put them in a book for her.  

Also - if you can, please add in your graduation year to your signature so that Mom can place you - 41 years means there are a LOT of students.

Thank you,

Melanie Thomas (Rahman) '02, Stephanie Rahman '06, Emily Rahman, '11


6,436 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!