Catholic private school accused of ‘hate’ for requiring students to identify by natural sex
WOONSOCKET, Rhode Island, March 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A Rhode Island Catholic school has instituted a policy against enrolling transgender students. However, in the face of backlash the school says it is open to rethinking the policy.
“Mount Saint Charles Academy is unable to make accommodations for transgender students,” the school’s handbook states. “Therefore, MSC does not accept transgender students nor is MSC able to continue to enroll students who identify as transgender.”
The policy against admitting students identifying as transgender has been in effect at the Woonsocket, Rhode Island, prep school as of October of last year, according to The Daily Beast.
It was recently noticed by some alumni, the report said, one of whom started a Change.org petition addressed to Mount Saint Charles President Herve Richer, stating, “Mount St. Charles Academy, leave the hateful rhetoric in the past, accept Trans students.”
“It’s completely different than how they teach their students to behave,” David Coletta said of the policy prohibiting transgender students. “We were always taught there to be very accepting and loving of others.”
Coletta also stated the policy “goes against their own teachings.”
The petition had 1,654 names at press time, and a GoFundMe account was established for the purpose of raising funds for the school to institute the “proper facilities” to accept transgender students.
Mount Saint Charles Academy had issued a March 4 statement on the matter, with an update later that day adding the opening line regarding hurt feelings:
Mount Saint Charles Academy deeply regrets the unintended hurt feelings at and seeming insensitivity of our policy regarding the acceptance of transgendered young people. The policy that currently appears in the Mount Saint Charles Student Handbook is not intended to be discriminatory toward transgendered students nor is Mount Saint Charles Academy’s intent or desire to exclude transgender students. The policy was put in place for the simple reason that Mount Saint Charles feels that its facilities do not presently provide the school with the ability to accommodate transgender students.
As a Catholic school, Mount Saint Charles recognizes its call to serve all children who desire a Catholic education, but it also recognizes that it is not a comprehensive high school with the ability to serve all students. Some students may not be academically qualified. Others may have learning plans which the school cannot accommodate. And in some cases, our facilities may not be adequate to service some students.
Although the school has not been approached with any requests to admit transgender students, Mount Saint Charles Academy’s administration has been exploring ways in which it might provide reasonable accommodations for transgender students and fulfill its mission.
While Mount Saint Charles can respect that some may find our current policy somewhat inconsistent and intolerant, please try to understand the reason for its existence. This is certainly not our intent. Please know that we would very much like to address the issue, and your prayers and kind assistance would go a long way in allowing us achieve that goal.
LifeSiteNews inquired with the school as to the specific reason the policy was put in place, whether there had been transgender students at the school in the past, if any transgender students had been dismissed, the particular ways in which the school was exploring providing accommodations for transgender students, and whether the school would allow transgender students to enroll in the future. LifeSite did not receive a response by press time.
Coletta didn’t buy the school’s assertion that it was unable to accommodate transgender students, saying he knows of one who had attended a few years ahead of him, and who had not encountered any issues with restrooms or locker rooms while there.
“For them to say they can’t accommodate these students is just, in my opinion, a cheap copout because they’ve clearly shown in the past that they can,” Coletta said.
The term transgender refers to the psychological disorder gender dysphoria, a term established in the last several years by the American Psychiatric Association to replace “Gender Identity Disorder,” placing emphasis in the condition name on emotional distress in favor of disorder.
Legislative and legal battles have ensued across the U.S. and Canada in public schools and municipalities in recent years, with those suffering from the disorder and LGBT advocates pushing for transgender-identifying individuals to be allowed access to restroom facilities of the opposite gender, and the Obama Administration being a forceful proponent of gender ideology in the U.S. and abroad.
Catholic institutions have been under the same onslaught, though they have some protection as religious entities.
“As a constitutional matter, the fact that the school receives some state aid is not sufficient to subject them to constitutional constraints, which generally apply only to government actions,” said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU, in a golocalprov.com report. “There are, of course, separate statutes that ban discrimination in both public and private institutions, but many of those statutes have exemptions for religious institutions.”
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed the Church’s position on gender ideology last fall when it said that transsexuals (individuals having undergone gender reassignment surgery) could not serve as godparents. The declaration came after a Spanish woman living as a man claimed her parish priest allowed her to be the “godfather” for her nephews’ baptism, the inability to be godparents being due to such behavior being in “opposition to the moral demand of resolving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sex.”