Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a Catholic elementary school that bans transgender students and gay teachers, according to the Huffington Post.
DeVos visited Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School yesterday (September 19) as part of the department’s “2019 Back-to-School Tour,” where she will meet with school leaders and “participate in an education freedom roundtable.” The school is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, which has specific anti-LGBTQ policies.
The diocese’s policy states that transgender students are “ineligible to attend or remain in attendance” if they “undergo a sex change procedure,” because it “is understood in Catholic moral terms as self-mutilation and therefore immoral.” This policy similarly applies to staff.
The diocese’s policy on teacher conduct also prevents them from “condon[ing] or seek[ing] a same-sex relationship, union, or marriage” and “engag[ing] in unchaste behaviors be these heterosexual or homosexual, nor procreation outside of marriage.”
A violation of this policy can result in “disciplinary action,” including “counseling, admonition, the completion of corrective action, suspension, or termination of employment.”
Schools in the diocese are also forbidden from employing someone “who promotes, procures, assists, or performs an abortion.” Currently employed teachers who undergo an abortion will be terminated, according to the policy.
DeVos’ visit comes after her department introduced rollbacks on Obama-era protections for transgender students; rollbacks she made even when she of discrimination and harassment on transgender students.
According to an investigation done by the Huffington Post, at least 14 percent of religious schools that receive state vouchers or tax credits have policies that explicitly discriminate against LGBTQ students and staff.