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Betsy DeVos Will Visit Transphobic School During Back-to-School Tour

Betsy Devos

The Catholic diocese in charge of the Pennsylvania school bars transgender students and staff.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will visit a school that discriminates against transgender students as part of her 2019 Back-to-School Tour.

DeVos today is set to appear at Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School in Pennsylvania, a private school not in any way responsible to the Department of Education. And as HuffPost notes, it's also run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, which deems transgender people immoral, so it doesn't allow trans students or staff.

The diocese has a lengthy written policy on dealing with students who question their gender identity.

"This policy addresses the circumstances where there is a clear biological determination of a person's sex and subsequent efforts to chemically and/or surgically alter the given biology," the policy reads. "This is understood in Catholic moral terms as self-mutilation and therefore immoral. 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."

The school is instructed then to tell parents with trans children to take their business elsewhere.

"When parents enroll a child in a Catholic school in the diocese they agree that they will not publically act in opposition to Catholic teaching," the policy states. "Notification of a student's determination to undergo a sex change procedure or that a student has undergone the procedure ... would violate that agreement. The student would be ineligible to attend or remain in attendance in a Catholic school."

DeVos has advocated for federal programs that direct public funding to religious schools.

Of course, she has also made clear she will pursue policy that may harm trans students. In April 2018, she admitted in congressional testimony that she knew that a decision to roll back affirmative action guidelines, including trans-inclusive guidelines put in place during the Obama administration, would hurt students.

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