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Messmer President: We Will Not Compromise or Change What We Believe or Who We Are

Br. Bob Smith, president of Messmer Catholic Schools, discusses the Messmer-Shorewood helmet insignia issue.

Editor's Note: Br. Bob Smith is the President of Messmer Catholic Schools. The views in this letter are his own and not in anyway representative of the views of Patch or its staff.

In the days following the news related to the Messmer-Shorewood helmet logo issue, I have spent many hours thinking about a lot of things. My cell and school phones have been flooded with calls and text messages and numerous citizens and alumni have stopped to offer their thoughts on the issue. Our story has received local, national and international media coverage, which speaks to the importance of this issue.

As a Christian, an educator and the President of Messmer Catholic Schools, I write so that in a very clear and specific way, people know exactly what I believe and what I have said. 

First, I have nothing but respect and admiration for the present and past administrators of Shorewood schools. They have and continue to be great people to work with, and a model of professionalism. The parents of Shorewood schools are equally great, and have done many more things for our Messmer families than I can mention in this format. On their own, they have hosted graduation parties at their homes for Messmer graduates, who were too poor to have one at their own houses. Families have joined together at wakes and funerals for 12 years, and the students attend post high school institutions as friends versus strangers. It is what this country is about. 

Media coverage missed the most important messages that I have shared and will continue to share on this issue — We and I will not compromise or change what we believe or who we are. The decision to change the logo now was done so that the kids can focus on school and their remaining games. The question of a cross or another symbol representing Messmer Catholic Schools is for another day — after the season. This is a conversation that needs to take place across our nation — It is why media in Great Britain are following this story from across the pond.

There is a level of innocence in me and I asked a question earlier in the week when thinking out loud — “What did God do wrong?” I have the highest admiration (who I don’t even know) for the Shorewood student who designed the logo. In the 12 year partnership of Messmer and Shorewood, there has never been a complaint about any student or player being forced to pray nor have there been reports of students being uncomfortable when being in our building or working with our staff. The friendships and bonds that have come from this partnership are moving and unique. This leads me to believe that God didn't do anything wrong.

Br. Bob Smith, President

Messmer Catholic Schools

George Mitchell October 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
It is worth repeating that the concern about a cross on the helmet is ludicrous. Shorewood's partnership with Messmer involves a "public" school working effectively and positively with a "private religious" school. This in no way violates any Constitutional principle. Does the self-absorbed complainant object to the fact that churches are exempt from Shorewood property taxes?
Bob McBride October 19, 2012 at 01:15 PM
George, when it comes down to it, the sensitive nature of one uptight Shorewood resident trumps the concerns and traditions of a Catholic school that draws attendance from the inner city. It's worth trampling all the past history between the two organizations/communities (as noted by Br. Bob) in order to placate that person.
The Donny Show October 19, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Brother Bob. You are a great man doing tremendous things. People in Shorewood talk about helping kids. You ARE helping kids. Do not let the 1% of idiots in Shorewood ruin what you are doing!

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