“Remember that education is a difficult art, and that God alone is its true master. We will never succeed in it unless he teaches us the way. While depending humbly and entirely on him, we should try to acquire that moral strength that is a stranger to force and rigor. Let us strive to make ourselves loved, to instill into our pupils the high ideal of duty and the holy fear of God, and we will soon possess their hearts. Then, with natural ease, they will join us in praising Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our model, our pattern, our exemplar in all things, but especially in the education of youth.”
– St. John Bosco
As we affirm in our “Philosophy of Education,” the purpose of education is the “mental and moral formation necessary to live a life of responsible human freedom.” It is impossible to live such a life without discipline or self-mastery. At St. Mary’s we strive to provide an ordered, safe, and happy environment for all of our students wherein this self-mastery may develop.
The disciplinary approach of St. Mary, Star of the Sea is inspired by the educational philosophy of the great Catholic educator, St. John Bosco. John Bosco taught that love and prevention are better motives to right behavior than fear and punishment. His method is known as the “Preventative Method,” which John Bosco contrasts with what he called the “Repressive Method.” In his explanation, the repressive method is one that “lays out the law” and then looks for violations to be followed by punishment, all in an effort to prevent future violations through the motivations of fear. The “Preventative Method,” on the other hand, is a more positive approach, which seeks to prevent falls by supervision, encouragement, instruction and kind admonition.
The concept of discipline should therefore never be equated with mere punishment. Nevertheless, we will take reasonable disciplinary actions when appropriate. The administration follows an individualized disciplinary approach which takes into account the unique and personal circumstances of each disciplinary infraction. The aim of any administrative response to disciplinary infractions is to help students understand that their actions have consequences and thus to further the development of personal responsibility.