Justice in the Local Community
The school practises justice within its own community through policies, structures and practices that are consistent with the themes of Catholic social teaching. Respect for the dignity of the human person underlies Catholic social justice themes.
Belief in the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society. This principle is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. This teaching rests on one basic principle: individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution (Mother and Teacher, 1961, n.219).
A just school is faithful to Catholic social teaching when its policies, structures and practices promote the dignity of all members of the community. Of central importance is the establishment of positive relationships and decision-making processes that respect the dignity of individuals and promote the common good. These are reflected in significant areas of school life such as enrolment procedures, decisions about curriculum, school fees and levies, academic reporting and behaviour support.
The practice of justice within a school community needs to respect the principle of subsidiarity. This principle holds that decisions are best made and enacted at the lowest appropriate level. Within a Catholic or ecumenical school this means that all those affected by policies, practices and decisions are appropriately engaged in processes of developing and implementing them. Therefore, a school community develops policies, structures and practices that promote participation and inclusion.
The “principle of subsidiarity” must be respected: “A community of a higher order should not interfere with the life of a community of a lower order, taking over its functions.” In case of need it should, rather, support the smaller community and help to coordinate its activity with activities in the rest of society for the sake of the common good (The Hundredth Year, 1991, n. 48).
Justice in the Local Communtiy Document Library