US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos s set to pay a visit to a school that bans gay teachers (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty)
US secretary of education Betsy DeVos is set to pay a visit to a school that maintains policies of expelling transgender children and sacking gay teachers.
The senior Trump administration official will visit Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School in Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 19, where she will meet with school leaders and “participate in an education freedom roundtable”.
However, Huffington Post notes that the Harrisburg Catholic School diocese has explicit policies of discriminating against LGBT+ students and teachers.
School threatens to sack teachers in same-sex relationships.
One policy posted on the diocese website states that transgender children are “ineligible to attend or remain in attendance in a Catholic school” based on claims that “efforts to chemically and/or surgically alter the given biology” of a person are “understood in Catholic moral terms as self-mutilation and therefore immoral”.
It adds: “To attempt to make accommodations for such persons would be to cooperate in the immoral action and impose an unacceptable burden on others in the school community.”
Its conduct policy for teachers stipulates: “The employee respects the dignity of marriage and the Catholic moral doctrine on human sexuality.
“They only enter into valid marriages as defined by the laws of the Church. They do not condone or seek to enter a same-sex relationship, union or marriage.
“They do not engage in unchaste behaviours be these heterosexual or homosexual, nor procreation outside of marriage.”
It warns: “Any violation of this provision that is brought to the attention of the individual’s employer may result in disciplinary action against the employee, which may include, but not be limited to, at the discretion of the employer: counseling, admonition, the completion of corrective action, suspension or termination of employment.”
A separate policy warns teachers: “Employment shall not be offered to any person who is in the process of undergoing a sex change procedure [sic] or has had a sex change procedure.
“In the case of a current employee who undertakes or has undertaken such a procedure, employment would be terminated.”
Betsy DeVos has an anti-LGBT+ record.
In 2017, DeVos revoked Obama-era guidance that extended discrimination protections to transgender people in education.
Appearing before Congress earlier this year, the education official admitted she was aware her decision could cause harm to trans students.
Asked if she was aware of a recent study showing “alarming levels of suicide” among transgender students, DeVos responded: “I’m aware of that data.”