Respect Equality

Omaha archdiocese releases new ‘human sexuality’ policy for Catholic schools

The new guidelines were created to avoid confusion or “scandal” caused by a child’s expression of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
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Story at a glance

  • The Archdiocese of Omaha has rolled out a new policy for its 70 member schools to follow on “human sexuality,” whereby students, school staff and volunteers are required to use names and pronouns consistent with their sex assigned at birth.

  • Students and staff under the policy must conduct themselves in accordance with their sex assigned at birth at all times publicly, including in virtual spaces.

  • Those who refuse to comply with the changes will be dismissed.

The Archdiocese of Omaha has instructed its schools to follow a new policy on “human sexuality,” by which students may be expelled and teachers may lose their jobs if they ask to be identified using pronouns or a name inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth.

The 70 Catholic schools in the archdiocese will be expected beginning Jan. 1, 2023, to follow a slate of policies that were designed to avoid confusion or “scandal” caused by a child’s expression of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Under the new guidelines, which have been handed out to area schools in recent weeks, every current and prospective student and their parents must agree to “respect Catholic teaching concerning faith and morals, and particularly those addressing human sexuality.”

The policy also applies to all school employees and volunteers.

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A student cannot be enrolled in — and may be dismissed from — a Catholic school in the archdiocese if they “resist” the school’s instruction on “respecting the human person” by using a different name or pronouns than those they were assigned at birth or receive gender-affirming medical care including puberty blockers or hormones.

Students are required to conduct themselves in accordance with their sex assigned at birth “at all times publicly” — including online — and adhere to their school’s dress code or uniform policy. Access to facilities like multiperson restrooms and locker rooms will be determined by students’ sex assigned at birth.

If parents of transgender children do not willingly withdraw them from a Catholic school in the archdiocese, the school will dismiss the student and refer the family to counseling or mental health treatment.

Schools under the policy “will not refer families to counselors or mental health providers who do not uphold Catholic teaching in their practices.”

The Archdiocese of Omaha did not immediately respond to Changing America’s request for comment, but Deacon Tim McNeil, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, told the Omaha World-Herald this week that the policy’s introduction should not come as a surprise.

“The church has been clear,” McNeil said. “Pope Francis has been clear. Pope Benedict was clear. Pope John Paul II was clear about this. Catechism is clear.”

The new policy states that transitioning socially, medically or legally is “not a reality and not valid in the Catholic Church.”

According to McNeil, school leaders have responded favorably to the new guidelines and are eager to work with students and parents to ensure they are implemented compassionately.

The policy specifies that students are encouraged to respectfully and thoughtfully question Catholic teachings in the classroom, but “showing hostility toward or defiance of Church teaching demonstrates that a student is not a proper fit for the school.”