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Catholic Diocese refuses to sanction field trip to see astronaut Anne McClain speak at G-Prep

SPOKANE, Wash. - Several Catholic schools in Spokane are barring their students from attending astronaut Anne McClain’s speaking event this week at Gonzaga Preparatory School.

4 News Now reached out to Cataldo Catholic School, one of the schools allegedly not endorsing the event. Their principal, Zack Cunningham, says that the Catholic Diocese of Spokane is not endorsing McClain’s event as a school-sanctioned field trip. However, he plans to allow students to attend with their parents as an excused absence.

"It's really something that we are proud of as a school. We have a student, there's only a few schools across the world that can say they have an astronaut that went to their school." Cunningham said. "It's quite an honor."

According to the school, whether these events are sanctioned by the school depends entirely on Cataldo’s Board of Governors.

St. Charles Parish School says they are not attending the event either, but do not have the same plan in place as Cataldo, allowing excused absences. They said it is up to the parents if they want to go.

4 News Now reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, inquiring why they decided to not make the event school-sanctioned. They declined an interview.

However, a statement on the Catholic Diocese website says, "In response to Anne McClain’s presentation at Gonzaga Prep, Bishop Daly has made no declaration whether the Catholic schools in the diocese may or may not attend. In keeping with Catholic education as one of his top priorities, and valuing the principle of subsidiarity, Bishop Daly supports the pastors and principals of schools in making decisions about school activities." 

Gonzaga Prep told 4 News Now,

"We have invited our local Catholic elementary schools and several nearby SPS elementary, middle school and high schools in hopes that Anne’s accomplishments and will inspire them to pursue their dreams.

It is a wonderful opportunity for the Spokane community, and we are grateful to be hosting. Some schools are unable to attend but many are coming with a variety of ages from 4th grade - high school."

McClain will be at Gonzaga Prep on Thursday morning for a pep rally-style assembly. The event starts at 10 a.m. and 4 News Now will be there to provide your coverage.

This is a developing story.



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