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My Issue with Catholic Schools

Prior to attending the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I received all of my elementary and high school education from catholic schools.  I took my theology classes very seriously, was part of winning Bible Quiz team and even was a member of my school’s pro-life club.  I was given an incredible opportunity to be taught by amazing teachers and gained a top-notch education. Catholic schools provided me with a foundation that made me the successful college student that I am today.  I’m thankful that my parents sacrificed so much to send me to private schools. Trust me, it wasn’t cheap for a working class family.

I can’t deny that I my parochial schooling didn’t benefitted me greatly.  Looking back, it without a doubt did. But thinking retrospectively, I know it could have been better. I felt in someway, shape or form that my Catholic schools failed me and probably failed others.  As great as my education was, I felt that Catholic schools (and maybe others feel this way too) fell short in terms of informing students about sexual minorities and problems faced by the LGBT community.  I now think to myself,  “what if I was gay or bisexual during high school?  Would there have been a safe place for me during school hours?” “Who was an adult that I could of gone to for help or advice?” As a heterosexual female, I was fortunate enough that this was not an issue for me, but what about those students that weren’t heterosexual? How was school for them?

I remember my high school instructors ignoring LGBT issues all together. Probably something the archdiocese didn’t approve of as appropriate teaching material.  During some classes there were teachers that openly renounced lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals. I even had some teachers that went as far as classifying gays and lesbians as “depraved” or “immoral” people. It concerns me that some private schools (for example my former high school) still might be teaching an opinion of intolerance towards sexual minorities.  I believe that in order for parochial schools to produce well-rounded individuals and provide a truly first rate curriculum it first has to change it’s preexisting homophobic insensitivities. For adolescents, high school is a time of personal development and self-discovery therefore there should be resources for LGBT students.

I hope one day in the future Catholic schools will make the commitment for inclusiveness and strive to support diversity among all its students regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.  Regrettable for me, I had almost zero understanding of what gender equality meant. It wasn’t until I became friends with people who identified as part of the LGBT community that I became informed all the complexities of human sexuality.  Thankfully at our university we have a ministration and faculty that strives for an inclusive campus. It is active organizations like PRIDE that bring forth LGBT issues to the student body and enriches student life. It is my hope that maybe one day Catholic high schools like the one I graduated from will have organizations similar to PRIDE and take a “positive stance against discrimination” for future LGBT students.

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