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Austin Cline

Teacher: Girl a 'Slut' for Kissing

By May 15, 2005

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At the Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Chicago, a student had to go to the hospital because she contracted mononucleosis. People can catch this through kissing, but one of Rebecca Alvarado's teachers suggested to other students that Alvarado was a slut for catching the disease.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on what Nancy Vandertuuk did:

"People were saying I was a slut because of this," Alvarado said. "Everyone was staring at me like I was a freak. And when I was walking in the hallway, they'd point at me and laugh or say 'There she is. That's her.' It was terrible."

Alvarado's mother, Maricela Herrada, said she called McGovern to explain her daughter's illness. An hour later, the suit says, Vandertuuk asked a class to pray for Alvarado... An hour after that, the suit said, Neary led a class discussion about Alvarado, telling them the "number one" group to get mononucleosis was "sexually active girls."

When a student asked if "whores" get that disease, the lawsuit claims that Neary replied, "Yes." More classes heard the same lecture from Neary, it says, including a discussion about whom Alvarado was friends with and sleeping with.

"Students from several grades were now discussing and gossiping about Rebecca," the lawsuit says, "claiming she was easy, sleeping around, a slut, and were writing in bathroom stalls that she possessed sexually transmitted diseases."

The school will actually fight this they don't appear to think Nancy Vandertuuk did anything wrong. Perhaps this is what qualifies as "abstinence" education at the Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School: shame young people by accusing them of all manner of falsehoods in order to make others too afraid to become sexually active.

The newspaper doesn't mention it, for some reason, but the Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School is an all-girls Catholic high school sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Their mission statement says:

[W]e prepare students to live in a complex, dynamic society by teaching them to think critically, communicate effectively, respond compassionately to the needs of their community and assume roles of Christian leadership. In partnership with parents, we empower young women to acknowledge their giftedness and to make decisions with a well-developed moral conscience. We foster an appreciation of the diversity of the global community and a quest for knowledge and excellence as life long goals.

Well, they certainly did all of that for Rebecca Alvarado, didn't they? When someone catches a disease through kissing, you "respond compassionately" by calling her a slut and a whore. You "empower young women" by shaming them if they do anything you dislike. You "acknowledge their giftedness" by defending teachers who spread malicious gossip about teen girls.

This makes me wonder: is encouraging gossip about a girl being a slut and a whore representative of the Catholic morals being taught there generally, or just a subset of Catholic sexual morality? Is it representative of "mercy" to defend a teacher like Nancy Vandertuuk?

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Comments
December 5, 2006 at 4:31 pm
(1) a grad from the class of 04 says:

too bad everything was a lie. i went to mcauley and graduated with her. there are never ever anything written on the bathroom stalls. McAuley, just like every other high school, have pregnant girls who attend there. do you really think that girls are going to haze a student with mono? it didnt happen. just another poor person looking out for a free hand out.

December 5, 2006 at 5:26 pm
(2) Austin Cline says:

too bad everything was a lie.

That’s a pretty serious accusation. Can you support it? Why should an anonymous poster like this be believed?

August 22, 2007 at 2:09 pm
(3) jim says:

First thing, if Vandertuck did anything wrong, it was the simple disclosure of her illness to the class, which is indeed inappropriate despite her good intentions. The only one who I can see did something with malicious intent was teacher Neary. And of course teenagers call each other names no matter what school they attend.

So what does this say about Catholic moral teachings? Absolutely nothing.

I don’t see how this could in any way be seen as a result of the “Catholicness” of the school. The same situation could just as easily happen at any other school (and probably has).

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