Wealthy Florida parents who pledged $1.35 million to their daughters’ exclusive Catholic school are suing for breach of contract — accusing it of abandoning a Catholic education in favor of going “woke” and forcing kids to “check their white privilege.”
Anthony and Barbara Scarpo noted how the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa even named its auditorium “Scarpo Family Theatre” after their huge pledge in 2017, saying they were helping it raise $9 million in total.
But now the parents want their money back — including tuition paid for their two daughters — in outrage at how the school turned its back on Catholicism to go “woke,” their 13-count, 45-page lawsuit claims.
The Scarpos claim they were betrayed by the school suddenly “embracing the new, politically correct, divisive and ‘woke’ culture where gender identity, human sexuality, and pregnancy termination among other ‘hot-button issues,’ took center stage,” the lawsuit said.
The school “insidiously indoctrinated its students, requiring that they ‘check their white privilege’ and feel sufficiently guilty merely because of their skin color,” the lawsuit said.
Pupils were also made to feel guilty that “their parents could afford their attendance at the Academy,” where tuition is up to $22,450-a-year for high school students, the lawsuit said.
Instead of the focus of teaching, Catholicism was “billed as an unfortunate past deserving of its students’ guilt for not having been ‘woke’ sooner,” the documents allege.
Claiming this amounts to fraud and breach of contract, the lawsuit alleges.
As a result, the couple is seeking to rescind the $1.35 million pledge, and get back the $240,000 cash gift it had already paid.
They also want the tuition they paid for their daughters — which was not detailed — to be paid to Catholic charities, and for their name to be removed from the auditorium and “any public displays or media.”
The parents — who import diamonds and jewelry and own a trust fund company — are also seeking to bar the school from claiming it offers a Catholic education.
The school has denied the claims — with a lawyer writing to the Scarpos’ legal team to call the lawsuit a publicity stunt, the Tampa Bay Times said.
“We can discern no motivation behind the lawsuit other than attention-seeking by your clients, and a desire by you to build a brand,” lawyer Gregory Hearing wrote, threatening a countersuit to get the full pledge.
Emily Wise, a school spokeswoman, told the Florida paper in an email that the claims are “false and unsubstantiated.”
“We will continue to pray for all parties involved, and, if necessary, we are prepared to defend ourselves in court,” Wise said.