“To form students who will become lifelong learners in a joyful pursuit of the Truth who is Christ.”
That’s the mission of The Lyceum, a Catholic school in South Euclid, Ohio. But now, a recently passed city ordinance threatens this school and the students and families that it serves. Under this ordinance, The Lyceum is no longer permitted to make hiring decisions based on its mission. That means this private school can be forced to hire individuals who do not abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church and are not dedicated to furthering the mission of the school.
If they refuse, the school could face substantial fines that threaten its existence – and school administrators could even face jail time.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of The Lyceum. After all, the school has a constitutional right to operate consistently with its beliefs and mission.
Two students from The Lyceum, Thomas and Vernadette, shared what the school has meant to them personally and how this lawsuit could impact them. Thomas is the son of Headmaster Luke Macik and a 2015 graduate of the school, while Vernadette is a sophomore at The Lyceum.
ADF: Tell us a little bit about The Lyceum.
Thomas: The Lyceum faculty works selflessly to educate children in the classical tradition that formed Western Civilization and the moral tradition of the Catholic Church. We are taught to pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful by studying the greatest minds in history, the most beautiful works of literature, and the immense depth of tradition and morality of the Catholic faith.
ADF: How have you benefited from your time at The Lyceum?
Thomas: I cannot adequately express the gratitude I have towards my father and all faculty of The Lyceum for giving me this education. They have not only enabled me to become a better and more educated man, but also deepened my awareness for others and the duty which I have towards my neighbor and society.
Vernadette: My time at The Lyceum has taught me so much. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that my faith impacts and forms every aspect of my life. That truth isn’t just taught here at The Lyceum—it’s built into every moment of our school day. Whether it’s starting every day in worship through song, beginning each class with prayer, or growing with my classmates in our ability to read and understand ancient Greek and Latin, it is an absolute joy to take part in an education where we value the good, the true, and the beautiful. It didn’t take long before I came to think of my classmates and teachers as an extension of my own family. Together, we share unforgettable moments as we walk beside each other in love and gratitude for what God is doing each and every day.
ADF: What is the most shocking thing about this lawsuit and the potential consequences that your school faces for operating according to its beliefs?
Thomas: The thought that my father could be sent to prison horrifies me. He has spent his life fulfilling the duties of parenthood by educating me and my siblings and forming our moral character in accordance with the dictates of his conscience.
Vernadette: When I first came to The Lyceum, I never would have expected to see my school have to file a lawsuit just to make sure my classmates and I can still attend our faith-based school. Just the idea that we could be unwelcome in our own city has come as a shock to me. At The Lyceum, we all agreed to live by community standards that are rooted in Catholic teaching. I don’t expect everyone to agree with us, but everyone should agree to respect each other’s faith and freedom. We can live peacefully with each other without forcing anyone to surrender their freedom to live consistent with their faith. Tolerance is a two-way street. Along with my classmates and teachers, I am hopeful the court will allow our school to keep its doors open and continue to educate us with excellence.
You can find out more about this case and watch the video here.