Catholic school defends importance of pro-life assembly
October 22 speaker event was boycotted by students

2021-11-04T13:34:37-07:00November 4th, 2021|Education|

Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco staged a walkout last month to protest an all-school assembly which featured a pro-life speaker.

Despite the students’ actions, the school’s president defended the talk as “an opportunity to come together in order to learn more about the dignity of human life.”

Archbishop Riordan High School, which is administered by the Society of Mary, hosted an all-school assembly Oct. 22 featuring pro-life speaker Megan Almon.

Almon tours the country with the Life Training Institute, a Christian pro-life organization whose talks aim to “empower others with the knowledge and conviction necessary to make a case for life that changes hearts and minds.”

According to an account of the incident by the San Francisco Chronicle, students began to exit the auditorium and file into an adjacent gym about “five minutes” into the presentation, leaving “a few dozen of the school’s more than 800 students” in the auditorium for the entire talk.

Tim Reardon, the school’s interim president, told CNA in an email that he has since received “many notes from those in the community who appreciate that we are providing the Catholic position [on] this highly polarizing topic.”

“Many of the parents sent their kids to Catholic school so that the kids could learn about Catholic social teaching. To avoid these topics would be a failure to serve these individuals,” Reardon wrote in the email to CNA.

According to the Chronicle, the school wrote in an email to parents preceding the talk: “The administration is aware that not all Riordan students are Catholic. We understand that we live in a society in which people have strong, disparate opinions about all the categories ascribed to this theme… Our speaker will be here simply to explain the Catholic position, primarily with regard to abortion. We ask that all students listen respectfully to the speaker, who is nationally recognized for her work on this subject.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency


  1. Is This Truly A "Catholic" School? November 4, 2021 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    This is beyond shocking! The students who “boycotted” the pro-life event, should be expelled ASAP!! This so-called “Catholic” school needs to be re-organized as an authentic Catholic school, with solid Catholic teaching and beliefs, which all faculty, students and parents must accept, live by, and uphold.

    • Bad Students November 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      A bunch of woke snowflakes whose parents aren’t getting their money’s worth.

  2. no religion November 4, 2021 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Every student that left the assembly should be punished. Just shows you that most kids at Catholic schools hate Catholic faith and morality. They are there because it’s a nongovernment school. They don’t want no religion and they don’t want no morality.

  3. Leslie November 4, 2021 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    The students should just transfer to Archbishop Mitty, the pro-abortion Latanya will take these social justice warriors

    • Bay Area Catholic November 4, 2021 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Maybe the two deceased Archbishops of San Francisco (Riordan and Mitty) could together intercede for the once-Catholic schools bearing their names.

  4. Deacon Craig Anderson November 4, 2021 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    May God bless and protect Reardon for presenting Catholic social teaching in its fullness. As “interim president,” will he become school president or be demoted (or worse)? I hope it’s the former.
    Should students or parents be surprised or offended that a Catholic school presents Christian teaching?
    As well as teaching in accordance with natural law and biology?
    (Those are rhetorical questions. It’s a free country and no one is forced to attend, send their children to or work at a Catholic school.)

  5. FogBeltBoy November 4, 2021 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I am saddened to hear this, as I thought Riordan was a hold-out against the liberal tide that has engulfed other “Catholic” schools, such as my alma mater in Sf — you can guess which. At least, the president tried to bring some clarity, but if the parents themselves obfuscate the truth, then there’s precious little hope for these “little ones.”

  6. Dan November 4, 2021 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    This is sad beyond measure. Sad because the students have chosen, with varying degrees of culpability, Satan, yes, Satan, over Jesus. Sad because this action shows how vapid, ineffectual or perhaps absent Catholic education has been in the face of powerful cultural currents mostly wrapped up in the sexual libertinism which has held sway for decades and is currently expanding in the transgender insanity. Sad because Church leaders have lost the respect of the Church’s enemies owing to the terrible sexual libertinism in the clergy, where it exists. Too many voices compromised because lives have been compromised by lip-service to the Church’s teachings on holiness and what that requires. Sad because this libertinism exists also in Rome. Voices that might thunder instead whimper. It is sad because the future of the Church lies in the few dozen students who stayed, and doubtless fewer than that, because from my experience teaching in Catholic schools, I would say some were Protestants trying to be respectful. Let us therefore pray that the 750+ walkers come to their senses somewhere along their lives, and those who stayed grow in faith.

  7. Wondering November 4, 2021 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    I checked the school’s demographics. Only 22.5 percent identify as Caucasian. Perhaps if the school had hired a non-Caucasian pro-life speaker, things would have gone differently?

    • puzzled November 5, 2021 at 8:01 am - Reply

      The school is 77% male. Which makes it more puzzling. Unless it is just teenage boys who want their girlfriends to be able to abort if they get pregnant.
      It is 25% Hispanic and fist generation Latinos are pro-life but not as much the next generation. So is it rebellion? Latinos obtain 22% of the abortions in the US.
      The walk-out says that they felt so threatened by the information that they could not even tolerate listening to it. They were uncomfortable with the truth.
      I am glad that there have been more discussions.
      It sounds like something that should have been discussed in their biology classes. And sex ed.
      It could have been just a stunt for tik-tok, though.

      • Sadie Hawkins November 5, 2021 at 9:01 pm - Reply

        77% Male? The Sadie Hawkins dance must be interesting.

  8. Anonymous November 5, 2021 at 7:48 am - Reply

    I bet if Hitler rose from the dead and spoke at the school, no students would have walked out because they would have at least been interested to hear his point of view.

  9. me November 5, 2021 at 8:14 am - Reply

    I tried to get on the SFGate article and hit the paywall. There is a story on Newsweek that said the Chronicle story says that one student was offended because abortion was compared to infanticide. And there was a Father John Bailey who said the presentation was horrible and harmful.
    I think the speaker was too much for them.
    Maybe the school thought they were bringing in someone who could equip their students to defend life in the womb and the kids were not ready for that at all.
    Can anybody access the article?

    • Dan November 5, 2021 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      ” And there was a Father John Bailey who said the presentation was horrible and harmful.” me, I would like to crawl into the mind of that priest and find out what about the abortion presentation he found horrible and harmful. Did she show aborted babies? If so, what is more horrible, the baby cut in pieces or the intention to do so and act of doing so? Harmful? Is this all about safe spaces, shielding students from reality, a reality which doubtless some of them have been party to at the expense of their soul? What do you want for them, Father, a fantasy world of no pain, no responsibility, no discipline? If I am off-base in his revulsion to the speaker, I shall gladly be corrected.

      • me November 5, 2021 at 6:11 pm - Reply

        It was confusing in the Newsweek article but from what I can see on Google he is a parent. Father was capitalized in the Newsweek article and I thought it was a priest, too.

    • me November 5, 2021 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      So from what I can see John Bailey is the father of a sophomore at the school not a priest.

      • Anonymous November 5, 2021 at 7:02 pm - Reply

        Could be both.

        • Anonymous November 10, 2021 at 2:15 pm - Reply

          No it isn’t.

  10. Anonymous November 5, 2021 at 8:38 am - Reply

    The school, aware that a portion of its student body did not agree with Church teaching on abortion, gave parents advance notice of the assembly and offered an alternative venue for students who did not wish to attend the event. But those aren’t the kinds of things that create headlines in today’s news environment.

    What happened next was the kicker.

    Instead of listening to the speaker, a majority of the student body stood and walked out of the assembly a few minutes into the presentation. The walkout was orchestrated in advance and had nothing to do with the content the speaker actually presented.
    Almon graciously agreed to visit their classrooms for further dialogue. After reviewing her pro-life case for those who walked out of her presentation, she invited their feedback. Once again, many students simply refused to engage Almon in thoughtful dialogue. Rather, they complained that she was allowed to speak in the first place. For those students who did engage, the exchanges were respectful.

    • me November 5, 2021 at 10:38 am - Reply

      I do not know why but that disappeared before I could type the link.
      It is from the statement from Life Training Institute and I typed the link down below.

  11. Keith November 5, 2021 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    It is a Catholic School, you knew that when you signed up. You go to a Catholic School you must go to Catholic events or leave the school and go to a school where your belief system is fostered.

  12. Problem in admissions November 5, 2021 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    The problem is that many Catholic schools in admissions assure noncatholic parents that everyone is welcome and nobody will be forced to become Catholic, they won’t proselytize, yeah they have to go to Mass once a month but they make it fun with cool music and such, and the religion classes don’t grade based on faith, and the faith aspect of the school is really just a tiny part of the school that emphasizes a rigorous academic curriculum, diversity, and excellence in sports.

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