Omaha Catholic schools clarify new transgender policy from Archdiocese
While some local high schools are required to follow the policy, others will continue making their own rules.
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Catholic schools in Omaha are working to clear-up confusion about a new policy announced by the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Under the new policy — set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 — students may be expelled and teachers could be fired if they ask to be identified as transgender. However, few high schools in the Omaha-metro area are required to follow this policy and will, therefore, continue making their own rules.
At least three Catholic high schools in Omaha have announced they will not be following the new Archdiocese of Omaha policy regarding gender identity: Creighton Prep, Marian, and Duchesne.
Dear Duchesne Community,
By now, many of you are aware of the Archdiocese of Omaha’s proposed policy regarding gender issues circulated to Catholic schools in the Omaha area and the accompanying news coverage.
We thought it would be helpful to share Duchesne’s approach. As you know, we cherish and celebrate our Sacred Heart values and identity. Our status as a Catholic, Sacred Heart, and independent institution empowers us to carry out our mission to make known God’s love in the world while meeting the unique needs of our community.
We research, determine, and implement policies that best serve our students within the Catholic faith and the framework of the Five Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education.
Our school year has just begun, and our policy handbook is established for the year. We will not adopt the recently published policy regarding gender issues and will continue to work closely with the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Head of School
“We exist to care for our kids. That’s why we’re here,” said Father Matt Spotts, president of Creighton Prep High School.
Spotts told 6 News he’s had to emphasize this point repeatedly after the Archdiocese of Omaha issued a new transgender policy requiring staff to treat people according to their biological sex at birth.
Spotts said Creighton Prep has different guidelines and doesn’t plan to make any changes.
“Every single student that walks through our doors is created in the image and likeness of God. That’s one of our most important and fundamental values,” he said.
Like most Catholic high schools in the Omaha metro area, Spotts said, Creighton Prep is independent and not required to follow the new policy.
“That is something that’s hard for a lot of folks to grasp,” he said.
Other independent Catholic high schools in Omaha include Duchesne, Marian, Mercy, Mount Michael, and the Jesuit Academy. Only three high schools are governed by the Archdiocese of Omaha: Gross, Roncalli, and Skutt.
The new transgender policy has caused so much confusion that many schools are sending out emails to parents to clarify:
By now, many of you are aware that there have been media reports about a new “human sexuality” policy developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha for use in their schools. The media coverage of this policy has shown and/or mentioned Creighton Prep as an example of an Omaha Catholic school required to adopt this policy. We would like to offer some clarity around this reporting misconception. We also recognize that many of you have questions as to whether this policy will be adopted by Creighton Prep.
As a private, Jesuit school, Creighton Prep’s governance and sponsorship are closely tied to the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus. While we value our close and cordial relationship with the Archdiocese of Omaha, we do not share a governance structure with the Archdiocese or other archdiocesan schools.
Creighton Prep’s handbook was finalized before the beginning of the school year. The process for considering policy changes is led by an internal committee over several weeks during the summer months. It would be highly unusual for us to make any major change to the handbook once the school year has begun. We have no plans to make any significant changes to our handbooks at this time. Any changes we would make would be made in due course through our ordinary governance structures.
As a Catholic school, we affirm the teachings of the Catholic Church. A central truth of our faith is that every single human being is of limitless value because they are created in the image and likeness of God. While questions about sexuality and gender can be complex in the context of Catholic teaching, it is our duty as a Catholic school in the Ignatian tradition to meet anyone who has these questions with pastoral care and sensitivity that embodies God’s limitless love for each person. It is our mission to be a community of faith for all people.
I am personally grateful to the members of our community who have requested clarification about Prep’s policies in light of the media reporting about the Archdiocese’s policies. We at Prep value the fact that you have trusted us to be partners in the formation of your sons. For our part, we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we form Men for Others who are thoughtful, compassionate, and understanding.
In Christ’s Mission,
Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ
Karen Kruse’s son graduated from Scutt. That’s an Archdiocesan high school and required to follow the new policy. But Kruse said gender identity should be personal.
“People have a choice, and whatever they choose to do, they do,” Kruse said.
Still, Kruse said that if the policy had been in place when her son was choosing schools, he still would have gone to Skutt.
“It wouldn’t have changed anything. Yep. We still would have done the same thing,” she said.
Dear Marian Parents,
Recently, the Archdiocese of Omaha announced new protocols on the topic of human sexuality. The media coverage of this policy has shown and/or mentioned Marian as an example of an Omaha Catholic school required to adopt this policy. We would like to offer some clarity around this reporting misconception.
As a private Catholic school, Marian’s governance and sponsorship are aligned with our founding order, the Servants of Mary, and we have always had a strong relationship with the Archdiocese of Omaha. As an independent Catholic school, Marian has a process for adopting new policies that is guided by our mission and core values.
We recognize that situations involving questions of sexuality and gender are complex in the context of Catholic teaching, and we strive to work with everyone in our community with compassion and sensitivity. We will review the archdiocese’s policy, and at this time we have no plans to make any significant modifications to our handbook. Our faculty and staff have received this same message, and please feel free to share it with your daughters.
Inspired by the mission of the Servants of Mary, Marian students are encouraged to bring God’s compassionate presence to their communities by:
1. Developing an awareness and respect for differences
2. Demonstrating empathy, concern and support in relationship to others
3. Creating a welcoming environment
We will continue to live out the core values of the Servants of Mary and will keep you apprised of any changes to our Student/Parent Handbook.
In Marian spirit,
President Michele Romero Ernst and Principal Susie Spethman Sullivan
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