CHICAGO - Mount Carmel High School will remain an all-boys school.
"The results of the feedback have made it overwhelmingly clear that Mount Carmel High School’s stakeholders want Mount Carmel to remain all-male, and that changing the school’s all-male tradition is not in the best interest of the school," President Brendan Conroy said in a news release Tuesday.
"Stakeholders’ input indicated that future generations will be best served by continuing to offer young men an opportunity to learn, mature and form mutual bonds of friendship in Mount Carmel’s all-male environment. In addition, attracting female students to Mount Carmel would be a daunting challenge."
In an email to the school community over the weekend, school leaders said the initial idea of going coed as soon as fall 2023 was "not practical."
"We certainly learned by listening to alumni, students, and you, our parents, that our timeline was too aggressive," Conroy said in that email.
Conroy declined to comment when reached Monday.
"It is time to look ahead to a bright future," Don Barry, Mount Carmel High School board chair, said in the news release. "As we move forward, it is our goal to continue to ensure the brightest possible future for our young men."
In June, school leaders said they were considering admitting girls as soon as the fall of 2023 as a way to address "elusive growth" for single-gender catholic schools.
"Leaders noted that growth in Chicago Catholic high schools is occurring in coeducational settings," school officials said then, adding that the views of parents, students and other members of the community would be taken into account.
The idea of Mount Carmel becoming coeducational was initially met with negative feedback.
The school surveyed students and parents on the debate. Out of 63 responses from current students, 41 said they would prefer that the school remain all-boys. Only 14 said the school should go coed while they were a student.
Of 277 current parents who responded, 113 said they would not keep their son enrolled if Mount Carmel went coed, while 122 said they would need more information before making the decision. Forty-two said they would keep their son enrolled.
A petition to put a stop to the coed plan has received over 1,600 signatures.
Mount Carmel was founded in 1900. Notable alumni include Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, former Chicago Blackhawk Chris Chelios, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb and former Oregon State University men’s basketball coach Craig Robinson, who is also former first lady Michelle Obama’s brother.
St. Patrick, Brother Rice, St. Rita of Cascia and Leo are other all-boys Catholic high schools in the city.