U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday visited the Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, a school with a strict policy on transgender students, reports CBS News.
The stop, which was a part of DeVos’ third annual “back-to-school” tour, is an effort to highlight “learning environments where local educators and elected leaders are rethinking education,” according to a press release from the Department of Education.
Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School is a part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, the news outlet noted.
“Catholic educators as well as all other members of the school staff and community are called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ and His Church,” the school’s policy on gender identity reads. “When parents enroll a child in a Catholic school in the diocese they agree that they will not publically [sic] act in opposition to Catholic teaching.”
The 2015 policy addresses those who have a “clear biological determination of” their sex and want to “chemically and/or surgically alter the given biology.”
“This is understood in Catholic moral terms as self-mutilation and therefore immoral,” according to the policy. “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.”
Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark blasted DeVos’ visit to the school, tweeting: “Secretary @BetsyDeVosED, let’s try this again: The Department of Education is responsible for ALL students. Why are you on a constant crusade against our #LGBTQ students & teachers?”
Secretary @BetsyDeVosED, let’s try this again:
The Department of Education is responsible for ALL students.
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) September 19, 2019
“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hit the road this week for what her department calls a ‘2019 Back-to-School tour.’ Her itinerary includes a school that bans transgender students and staff,” the transgender advocacy group “Trans Lash Media” tweeted.
CBS News reports:
LGBTQ groupswhen she first became President Trump’s pick for education secretary, because of her support for some conservative religious groups that promote what they consider to be traditional family values — including one organization that supports conversion therapy. DeVos said she never supported , a widely discredited approach to counseling gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people with the aim of changing their sexual orientation.
DeVos has also stirred up criticism for, with an aim of shifting billions of dollars to private, parochial and charter schools. She promotes the concept of “school choice” — offering parents options other than traditional public schools, where 90 percent of kids go.