St. Mary Magdalen Deemed Unfit and Antiquated for School Name

LONDON, NOV. 11, 2004 ( Considering St. Mary Magdalen as politically incorrect for the name of a school, the Islington Council in north London is hoping to make a change.

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A member of the Islington Council said that more than being politically incorrect, the name St. Mary Magdalen simply does “not suit the times, it is too antiquated.”

Islington’s St. Mary Magdalen elementary school has been operating since 1710, and has a very high reputation.

Although a Christian school, it admits children of other religions. For centuries, education at the school has reflected a high degree of social, economic and religious tolerance, according to an article in the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Recently, however, the Islington Council has considered that the schools name might offend non-Christian families.

Even though no Hindu, Muslim or Jewish family has complained, the local government has proposed to change the name.

Only a few days ago, the father of one of the Muslim pupils said: “the school is an example of tolerance. I think the decision is more financial than religious.”

Local authorities are circulating a questionnaire asking families to vote for one name out of four options: The Barnsbury Academy, St. Mary Magdalene Academy, The Islington Academy and The Magdalene Academy.

John Stewart, the school’s director, was astounded by the council’s decision. “The thesis of the local administration is that the name ‘Saint’ would keep people away. What a strange idea: representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities of Islington have specified that they have no problem with the name. I wonder what the real reason is for all this commotion,” he commented.

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