OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Catholic schools in Omaha are working to clear up confusion over a new policy announced by the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Under the new policy – which will come into effect on January 1, 2023 – students can be expelled and teachers can 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 to set their own rules.
At least three Catholic high schools in Omaha have announced that they will not follow the Archdiocese of Omaha’s new gender identity policy: Creighton Prep, Marian and Duchesne.
Dear Duchesne Community,
By now, many of you will be aware of the Archdiocese of Omaha’s proposed gender policy being aired in Catholic schools in the Omaha area and the accompanying media 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 allows us to carry out our mission of bringing God’s love to the world while meeting the unique needs of our community.
We seek, determine, and implement policies that best serve our students in the Catholic faith and within the five goals and criteria of Sacred Heart education.
Our school year has just started and our policy manual is set for the year. We will not be adopting the recently released gender policy and will continue to work closely with the Archdiocese of Omaha.
“We exist to take care of our children. That’s why we’re here,” said Father Matt Spotts, president of Creighton Prep High School.
Spotts told 6 News he had to stress this point repeatedly after the Archdiocese of Omaha released a new transgender policy requiring staff to treat people based on their biological sex at birth.
Spotts said Creighton Prep had different guidelines and did not plan to make any changes.
“Every student who walks through our doors is created in the image and likeness of God. It is one of our most important and fundamental values,” he said.
Omaha Catholic Schools are working to clear up confusion over a new policy announced by the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Like most Catholic high schools in the Omaha metro area, Spotts said, Creighton Prep is independent and not required to follow the new policy.
“It’s something that’s hard for a lot of people to understand,” he said.
Other independent Catholic high schools in Omaha include Duchesne, Marian, Mercy, Mount Michael, and 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 emailing parents to clarify:
By now many of you will know that there have been media reports of a new “human sexuality” policy being developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha for use in their schools. Media coverage of this policy has shown and/or mentioned Creighton Prep as an example of a Catholic school in Omaha required to adopt this policy. We would like to provide some clarification on this reporting misconception. We also recognize that many of you are wondering if this policy will be adopted by Creighton Prep.
As a private Jesuit school, the governance and sponsorship of Creighton Prep is 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.
The Creighton Prep manual was finalized before the start of the school year. The review process for policy changes is led by an internal committee over several weeks during the summer months. It would be very unusual for us to make major changes to the textbook once the school year has started. We do not intend to make any significant changes to our manuals at this time. Any changes we make would be made in a timely manner through our regular governance structures.
As a Catholic school, we affirm the teachings of the Catholic Church. A central truth of our faith is that every human being is of unlimited worth 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 sensitivities that embody God’s boundless love for every person. Our mission is to be a community of faith for all.
I am personally grateful to members of our community who have sought clarification on Prep’s policies in light of media reports on Archdiocesan policies. At Prep, we appreciate that you have trusted us to be partners in training your sons. For our part, we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we build men for others who are caring, compassionate, and understanding.
In the mission of Christ,
Prof. Matt Spotts, SJ
Karen Kruse’s son graduated from Scutt. It is an archdiocesan high school and bound to follow the new policy. But Kruse said gender identity should be personal.
“People have choices, and whatever they choose to do, they do,” Kruse said.
Still, Kruse said if the policy had been in place when his son was choosing schools, he would still have gone to Skutt.
“It wouldn’t have changed anything. Yeah. We would still have done the same,” she said.
Dear Marian Parents,
Recently, the Archdiocese of Omaha announced new protocols on the subject of human sexuality. Media coverage of this policy has shown and/or mentioned Marian as an example of a Catholic school in Omaha required to adopt this policy. We would like to provide some clarification on this reporting misconception.
As a private Catholic school, Marian’s governance and sponsorship is 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 issues of sexuality and gender are complex within the context of Catholic teaching, and we strive to work with everyone in our community with compassion and sensitivity. We will be reviewing Archdiocesan policy and, at this time, we do not intend to make any significant changes to our manual. Our faculty and staff have received this same message, and please share it with your daughters.
Inspired by the mission of the Servants of Mary, Marian students are encouraged to bring the compassionate presence of God into their communities by:
1. Develop an awareness and respect for differences
2. Demonstrate empathy, concern and support in relationships with others
3. Create a welcoming environment
We will continue to live the core values of the Servants of Mary and keep you informed of any changes to our student/parent handbook.
In the Marian spirit,
President Michele Romero Ernst and Director Susie Spethman Sullivan
Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.