Daily Beast Shames Catholic School for Not Accepting Transgender Students

"A Rhode Island school says it won’t accept or enroll transgender students," complained the Daily Beast's Samantha Allen beginning her March 4 story, "Catholic Prep School: No Transgender Students." 

[In red block letters the tag "HATEFUL RHETORIC" is affixed above her headline. See screenshot below right]

"Catholic Rhode Island private school Mount Saint Charles Academy is open to everyone—so long as they’re not transgender," she complained, going on to write 26 more paragraphs on the matter.

[Surely Allen will devote similar attention if and when say a Muslim school bans or kicks out transgender students pursuant to their religious beliefs?]

To be fair, Allen did make clear that Mount St. Charles Academy (MSC) did seem to be making this stand not so much as a moral judgment but rather a logistical one, and she noted that, by law, religious institutions are exempt from anti-discrimination clauses which would get other businesses in trouble with the state government (emphases mine): 

In a statement to The Daily Beast, the school said that the policy was “not intended to be discriminatory toward transgendered [sic] students” and that it is not the school’s “intent or desire to exclude transgender students.”

[...]

[MSC alumnus and Change.org petitioner David] Coletta suspects that the recent panic about transgender people using facilities consistent with their gender may have inspired the school’s sudden action. 

In October 2015 when the new MSC policy was reportedly introduced, Houston was in the center of a national debate over an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance that would protect transgender people’s access to public accommodations. And this past week, the South Dakota House of Representatives upheld the governor’s veto on a bill that would have prohibited transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

MSC’s statement made no reference to this recent debate, comparing the supposed inadequacy of its facilities for transgender students to the rejection of applicants who are not “academically qualified.”

“Although the school had 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 accommodations for transgender students and fulfill its mission,” the statement concluded.

As a private religious institution, MSC is legally permitted to make this exclusion. Steven Brown, Executive Director of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) explained to GoLocalProv that the school does receive some state aid, but not enough to build a constitutional case against them.

That being said, Allen failed to find any defender of MSC – perhaps seeing the Academy's perspective to be represented sufficiently by its statement – while she extensively quoted Coletta.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.