Catholic high school principal in Rhode Island retires over racist slurs

Catholic high school principal in Rhode Island retires over racist slurs

Catholic high school principal in Rhode Island retires over racist slurs

Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. (Credit: Google Maps.)

The longtime principal of a Catholic high school in Rhode Island has retired after a short video of him using racial slurs surfaced.

WARWICK, Rhode Island — The longtime principal of a Catholic high school in Rhode Island has retired after a short video of him using racial slurs surfaced.

The president of Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick announced the retirement of Principal Joseph Brennan Jr. in an email to parents obtained by media outlets.

The 6-second video shows Brennan using slurs to describe blacks and Jews. It was edited, and it is not known if there is any more of the video.

“The video clip, which is under review, has no context and Mr. Brennan was being secretly recorded, but clearly the language is inappropriate. We will not tolerate inflammatory language in any context,” said an e-mail from John Jackson, the school’s president.

The language also drew condemnation from the leader of the state’s Catholic community, Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin.

“I was stunned, and profoundly sorry, to learn of the offensive comments made by Mr. Jay Brennan, longtime principal of Bishop Hendricken High School,” Tobin said in a statement.

“The incident seems completely out of character for a good man who has the reputation of being a fine Christian gentleman and an exemplary Catholic educator. Nonetheless, the administration of the school has taken the incident very seriously and has responded quickly and appropriately,” the bishop said.

Tobin said expressions of racism would not be tolerated by any employee of the Diocese of Providence, its agencies or institutions.

“Racism is a sin, a grave sin,” he said, apologizing to any group or individuals who had been offended – “and rightly so” – by the video.

“At the same time, I want to express my love, concern and support for all the members of the Bishop Hendricken High School community at this difficult time,” the bishop continued.

“There are wonderful people at Bishop Hendricken High School – administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students – who do great work all the time. I am proud of them and grateful for the many contributions they make every day to our Church and our community. May God grant us the grace of repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace in the days to come,” Tobin said.

Brennan, a 40-year employee of the school, could not be reached for comment.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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