After considering a pitch to keep Redemptorist High School open, the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge announced Saturday it is closing the school for good.
Redemptorist supporters earlier this month asked the diocese to cut ties with the school so it could become an independent Catholic school run by parents and alumni.
Following a meeting with several diocese boards, Bishop Robert Muench chose to stick with the initial plan to close the school, according to a diocese press release issued Saturday.
“After carefully considering the plan, all three entities unanimously recommended that the decision to close RHS should not be rescinded,” the release says.
The decision left members of the Save Redemptorist movement crestfallen.
“After reading their letter, the group finds it abundantly clear the diocese had no intention of considering our proposal,” said Julian Bourgeouis, an organizer of the Save Redemptorist movement and 1997 graduate of the school.
Bourgeouis called the diocese’s review of their proposal a “dog and pony show” that unfairly lifted the hopes of Redemptorist students.
“These poor students for the past month had hope that the diocese might accept our plan,” Bourgeouis said. “But they clearly never had any intention of doing that.”
The diocese in December announced plans to close the 67-year-old school due to perennially weak enrollment. Redemptorist Senior and Junior High schools have 223 students in grades seven to 12, after once boasting enrollments with as many as 1,000 students.
Redemptorist senior Shane Godso is a third-generation student at the school and has been there since pre-K (the elementary school will remain open). He called the closure a “huge mistake.”
“The diocese is wrong for sitting back, knowing there is an opportunity to keep a Catholic school open and not accepting it,” he said.
Bourgeouis said parents and alumni will continue to explore ways to keep the school open.
“It’s not over for us yet,” he said.
Follow Matt McKinney on Twitter, @Mmckinne17.