From the Publisher: Ball readdresses issues of student expression
I had a terrific meeting with Scott Novak on Tuesday, November 1. We discovered at this meeting that we have one thing in common; namely, we are both passionate about our beliefs. I began our meeting by apologizing to Scott for the end of my letter in the paper in which my writing turned to a personal nature.
That was inappropriate, and I now apologize to the readers of the paper as well. Neither Scott nor I need to apologize for our beliefs. I truly admire Scott’s courage and conviction to always work toward meeting the needs of others. He is an extraordinary young man. It was nice to sit with Scott and reflect and recognize the results of our two writings.
As painful as the readings have been for both of us over the last week, we feel as though it was worth it. The conflict resulted in many academically teachable moments in classrooms throughout the school, conversations during free time, and even conversations at home. It became more than a disagreement about abortion and pro-life.
It became an issue of the role of contract law in Catholic high schools and the issue of law and Catholic schools. Constitutional law does not apply to Catholic schools because we are administered by private persons instead of state agents. Consequently Catholic schools can restrict the rights to freedom of expression.
The freedom of expression at John Carroll is much greater than other Catholic schools I have been associated with. I want to work together with The Patriot to ensure that future controversial subjects can be published. We need to work together to ensure a solid, balanced perspective between the beliefs of the Catholic Church and the viewpoints of individual writers.
I appreciated that Scott understood my dilemma in being responsible to all of our constituencies; namely, our students, teachers, administration, parents, alums, Board of Trustees, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Freedom of expression and/or its restriction is not a clear cut issue in Catholic schools. Each situation is unique. I want to thank everyone that wrote heartfelt letters expressing views on my letter and Scott’s article. We have learned a great deal from this experience.