A married couple who donated $1.35million to a Catholic School in Tampa, Florida, is now suing to reclaim the money.
They say the institution, which provided education to their two daughters, has become too “woke” for their liking. One of the daughters has now graduated while the other has been transferred to another school.
Anthony and Barbara Scarpo announced in 2017 that they were donating the money to the Academy of the Holy Names, as part of a scholarship program. The school subsequently renamed its theater the Scarpo Family Theatre.
Last week, the family sued the school, saying it had strayed from Catholic teaching and was therefore in breach of contract, regarding the education it provided.
The lawsuit, filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, claims the school acted fraudulently by appealing for funds from parents while claiming to adhere to Catholic teachings. It specifically criticizes the school’s “zeal to embrace the politically correct ‘woke’ culture currently in vogue … where gender identity, human sexuality, pregnancy termination among other ‘hot button’ issues took center stage.”
It goes on to state the school “indoctrinated its students, requiring that they ‘check their white privilege’ and feel sufficiently guilty merely because of the color of their skin and because their parents could afford their attendance at the academy.”
The lawsuit refers to the school issuing a letter in which it said, “rejecting the racism and hatred reflected in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor … it is imperative we have conversations that are uncomfortable, learn from them, reconcile and grow.” This led to classes and presentations to discuss the oppression of racial minorities in the US.
The lawsuit says that in this way, the school’s leaders failed to “recognize the harm to their White, non-Diverse students by making them believe that they and their families are personally responsible for the historic harm(s) some members of our society have visited on other members of our society.”
Besides its teachings on racial equity, there was also LGBTQ information.
The lawsuit says, “On a blackboard at the entrance to the school where all ages pass, Defendant Academy explains how to be a good ally to LGBTQ+ individuals but utterly fails to put any part of this explanation into perspective with mainstream Catholicism.”
Besides wanting to reclaim the $1.35million they pledged, the Scarpos also want their daughter’s tuition fees returned to them (approximately $50,000). They want the money they donated to be given to Catholic charities of their choice.
In an email to Tampa Bay Times, a school spokesperson said they could not comment on pending legal action, other than to call the claims, “false and unsubstantiated.”
They added, “We will continue to pray for all parties involved, and, if necessary, we are prepared to defend ourselves in court.”
A lawyer for the school said it was considering filing a counterclaim against the Scarpos, who as yet have only paid a portion (around $240,000) of the $1.35million they pledged.