Opposition of Previous Petition Against Gavin Ahern

  • by: Saige Treiman
  • recipient: Sister Joanie Nuckols, VP of Academics & Co-Chair of Theology Department Xavier College Preparatory (Phoenix, AZ), Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona

Recently, a petition has been circulated to fire Gavin Ahern, theology teacher at Xavier College Preparatory. The petition stated that he handed his students a racist and sexist worksheet, which should not have been handed out as it went against Xavier policies. His actions have been portrayed unfairly, with no consideration of Mr. Ahern’s intention to use the worksheet as a teaching exercise.

This competing petition is being set forth against the petition urging the firing of Gavin Ahern. We and many of our peers feel that the initial petition is unfair and that the other side of the story needs to be heard.

Many of the people who signed the petition do not even know Gavin Ahern and certainly have not attended his classes. The worksheet posted, which was part of a theology class exercise, was not explained correctly in the opposing petition and made it seem as though Mr. Ahern wrote the worksheet himself. As Xavier students (in his class (JP) or in a comparable theology class (ST)), we can agree there are some topics that are disheartening and hard to deal with, but the purpose of this exercise was to expose the students to unpopular and unacceptable views from the past. Mr. Ahern has never been racist in class and actually has a very large understanding and big heart toward multiple views and opinions. He has never just stated a fact and told us to deal with it; he has always explained and answered questions relating to the topic under discussion. Mr. Ahern has been one of the few theology teachers who have ever made sense to me (JP) in class and taught me that the Catholic faith is accepting of all people. He has taught about love and acceptance in class. It is unfair for people to be so immature as to start a petition of hate against him when most of them do not know him as a person. The petition is extremely hateful and against all that Xavier teaches us as a community. Xavier teaches us to be women of excellence and mature adults. Creating something as petty as this is not what we stand for. Gavin Ahern is an amazing teacher and it is unfair to treat him like this. Please before voting and hating someone understand who they are and understand that distribution of the worksheet was taken out of context. Signing this petition indicates that you agree that Mr. Ahern should not be fired.

Two Xavier Students, Class of '17

Update #26 years ago
Thank you everyone who has supported Mr. Ahern and Xavier. The opposing petition has failed and without your support there would have been no light and positivity from this. I am more than grateful for all of the support, especially from Sr. Joan and Sr. Joanie. This unfortunate event has only made our community closer. Again, thank you all for your support, prayers, thoughts, and positivity. I have never been more proud to say I go to Xavier College Preparatory.
Update #16 years ago
Xavier has put out a statement supporting Mr. Ahern found here: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/online-petition-calls-for-firing-of-xavier-prep-teacher-for-anti-abortion-black-genocide-handout-8285489
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