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Spotlight Report

S. Boston residents protest school closing

By Stefany Moore, Globe Correspondent, 6/12/2003

About 150 angry St. Augustine School students and parents pounded on the Boston Archdiocese's doors yesterday, demanding answers to why one of Boston's oldest Catholic schools is shutting down on Friday.

''Save our school!'' the crowd shouted as one mother banged on the door of the archdiocese's chancery in Brighton.

There was no answer.

St. Augustine's students were told Tuesday that the more-than-century-old K-8 school is closing in three days. Church officials, citing an increase in debt and declining enrollment, said the school can not afford to stay open.

But parents, teachers, and students as young as 6 were furious yesterday that they hadn't been consulted before officials decided to the shut the school's doors.

Church officials could not be reached last night for comment.

The group gathered first at St. Augustine's on E Street, then crammed into dozens of cars and drove together to the archdiocese offices. After the crowd, clad in navy blue school T-shirts, had marched around the property and knocked on three doors, frustration mounted.

Tom Miller, whose 12-year-old son is in seventh grade, said church officials were placing an unfair burden on the children. The students will be given preference at the four other Catholic schools in South Boston, the archdiocese said.

''It's a shame that the kids have to suffer because a few priests can't keep their hands to themselves,'' Miller said, referring to the church sexual abuse scandal that has taken the archdiocese to the brink of bankruptcy.

This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 6/12/2003.
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