St Joseph's School Upper Hutt - Faith in the future. Love of learning. Love of life.

Principles Of Catholic Social Teaching at St Joseph’s

Human Dignity

Every single person is created in the image of God. Therefore they are invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. The dignity of the person grants them inalienable rights – political, legal, social, and economic rights. This is the most important principle because it is from our dignity as human persons that all other rights and responsibilities flow.

Every student is respected as an individual and as a member of our school’s community. As such they inherit the roles, expectations and responsibilities associated with our school and being a role model for young catholic students and the principles they stand for.

Human Equality

Equality of all people comes from their inherent human dignity. Differences in talents are part of God’s plan, but social, cultural, and economic discrimination is not.

The school’s main driver is to enable each student to reach their full potential. Their potential will not be judged by the colour of their skin.

Respect for Human Life

All people, through every stage of life, have inherent dignity and a right to life that is consistent with that dignity. Human life at every stage is precious and therefore worthy of protection and respect.

We teach our students to repect eachother and themselves. This learning is authentic within the school and flows over many areas of the students’ community and society. It is as simple as doing a good deed for others, taking turns, being polite and showing care and concern for school mates.

The Principle of Association

The human person is not only sacred but also social. The way we organise society directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to develop. People achieve fulfilment by association with others – in families and other social institutions. As the centrepiece of society, the family must be protected, and its stability never undermined.

In educating the a child we speak about ‘the whole child’ and we refer to a three legged stool. If one of the legs falls off or is weakened the integrity and effectiveness of the stool is lost. The legs are the child, the school and the family. This is exemplified by the three-way conferences we have for each student. Not just a parent teacher interview.

The Principle of Participation

People have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the well being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Everyone has the right not to be shut out from participating in those institutions necessary for human fulfilment, such as work, education, and political participation.

We constantly try to allow every child to have free and full access to educational programmes at our school. The requests for extra monies to undertake educational programmes is minimised and selection of individuals to participate in special programmes or events is done so with equity and need in mind..

The Principle of the Common Good

Individual rights are always experienced within the context of promotion of the common good. The common good is about respecting the rights and responsibilities of all people. The individual does not have unfettered rights at the expense of others, but nor are individual rights to be subordinated to the needs of the group.

We respect the rights of all of the students [and staff] as we implement programmes designed to promote the wellbeing and happieness of all. There will be tweaks made to programmes to better meet individual needs.

The Principle of Solidarity

We are one human family. Our responsibilities to each other transcend national, racial, economic and ideological differences. We are called to work globally for justice. The principle of solidarity requires of us that we not concern ourselves solely with our own individual lives. We need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us.

We are part of a wider community. Our students regularly concern themselves with people less fortunate than themselves. Our mission statement and curriculum talks about creating active participants, life-long learners and contributing citzens. The key competencies include relating to others, participating and contributing, and managing self.

Preferential Protection for the Poor and Vulnerable

Our Catholic tradition instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. The good of society as a whole requires it. It is especially important we look at public policy decisions in terms of how they affect the poor.

Everytime we have a muftiday or a bake sale the students give art or all of the funds received towards a worthy cause or to the needy.

The Principle of Stewardship

We have a responsibility to care for the gifts God has given us. This includes the environment, our personal talents and other resources.

This is one area where most of the things we do everyday can be classified as stewardship. Time, Talents and Treasure. Teachers and volunteers give their time and share their our own talents with others. They create their treasures. Students in turn are encouraged to share their time and talents with others through chior and performance.

The Universal Destination of Goods

The earth and all it produces is intended for every person. Private ownership is acceptable, but there is also a responsibility to ensure all have enough to live in dignity. If we have more than we need, there is a social mortgage to pay to ensure others do not go without.

The theme of stewardship also covers off the needs associated with social mortgage. The school is providing 16 garden beds. These will be used to provide the students with expertise in gardening with the produce being shared with the community.

The Principle of Subsidiarity

No higher level of organisation (such as government) should perform any function that can best be handled at a lower level (such as families and local communities) by those who are closer to the issues or problems.

The realisation that whatever behaviour our students undertake has a flow-on affect on others around them and this influences the type of reaction those people will enact in return, this is something we see lived out on a daily basis. Learning is about learning from mistakes. This type of learning is powerful and sometimes it hurts.