School Bars the Door to Trans Children


Recently, a Catholic school in Rhode Island decided that there was no place in their school for trans children.

Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island has issued a policy banning transgender students from the school, according to the Parent and Students Handbook.

The 2015-2016 edition, the Philosophy of Admissions’ section of the handbook states, “Mount Saint Charles Academy is unable to make accommodations for transgender students. Therefore, MSC does not accept transgender students nor is MSC able to continue to enroll students who identify as transgender.”

According to the schools mission statement, “Each and every student is known, valued, treasured and taught in partnership with the family.”

Hm. Apparently, they achieve that goal by selecting only certain students to know, value, treasure and teach.

I’m not Christian, but I’ve read much of the Bible, and on seeing this headline, the first thing which occurred to me was Mark 10:13-10:16:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

The picture above is apparently of the front of the school, where we see a statue of Jesus standing with his arms outstretched. That sculpture is not uncommon in Catholic settings, and I’ve always seen it as a welcoming gesture. In this context, it suddenly looked to me like Jesus with his arms outstretched to bar the gates.

Because God forbid that the trans children should swarm the gates and make it to the bathrooms or the locker rooms. Almost certainly, that is the accommodation which MSC proactively decided they could not figure out how to make, which necessitated rejecting an entire category of children.

The alumni, however, reacted in a manner probably not expected by the school, with a petition, currently at 1649 signatures, or about twice the size of the student body, demanding that the school admit trans children.

That’s got the attention of the school, which has released a statement.

Statement Regarding Transgender Students at MSC

Mount Saint Charles Academy deeply regrets the unintended hurt feelings at and seeming insensitivity of our policy regarding the acceptance of transgendered young people. The policy that currently appears in the Mount Saint Charles Student Handbook is not intended to be discriminatory toward transgendered students nor is Mount Saint Charles Academy’s intent or desire to exclude transgender students. The policy was put in place for the simple reason that Mount Saint Charles feels that its facilities do not presently provide the school with the ability to accommodate transgender students.

As a Catholic school, Mount Saint Charles recognizes its call to serve all children who desire a Catholic education, but it also recognizes that it is not a comprehensive high school with the ability to serve all students. Some students may not be academically qualified. Others may have learning plans which the school cannot accommodate. And in some cases, our facilities may not be adequate to service some students.

Although the school has 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 reasonable accommodations for transgender students and fulfill its mission.

While Mount Saint Charles can respect that some may find our current policy somewhat inconsistent and intolerant, please try to understand the reason for its existence. This is certainly not our intent. Please know that we would very much like to address the issue, and your prayers and kind assistance would go a long way in allowing us achieve that goal.

Oh, well that’s good. They didn’t mean to be inconsistent and intolerant. That’s a relief. Their intent will wrap its eldritch tendrils around their trans students and protect them from harm. (Warning for profanity and sarcasm in that link.)

The actual good part is that now that they’ve realized that their discrimination won’t get a pass, they say that they’re trying to figure out how they can teach trans students, although they apparently don’t think they have any trans students or trans applicants.

Which would be touching and adorable, if we ignored the consequences. The lives of trans people feed that kind of meat grinder. The US Military tried really hard for a long time not to have trans members, but they had them anyway. We turn up everywhere; that’s what you get in a system which creates incentives for trans people to hide, which punishes us when we don’t. There is no doubt that MSCA has trans alums, and they probably have closeted trans students right now. The best survey data we’ve seen yet puts the trans population at about 700,000 in the US. At about 320 million for the total population, that’s about one in 450 people. Even with some selection bias, which is pretty plain in this case, there’s a decent chance of a single current trans student.

I wish trans kids didn’t have to go through this. But, apparently, they do. And it’s been an eye-opener for a lot of people, I think, what some people are willing to say about children, are willing to do to them, if those children are trans.

Stop beating up on children, you people. If the inhumanity of it doesn’t stop you, then for heaven’s sake let expedience stop you. Think about how it makes you look. You may think it makes you look principled, like you’re having to make hard choices and sacrifices in order to hold a moral line. And if you were making the sacrifice yourselves, maybe that’s what it would look like. But you’re not; you’re selecting others to make the sacrifices, which means that it looks like what it is.

It looks like you’re sacrificing children.

Suffer them to come unto you, instead.


This entry posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 

8 Responses to School Bars the Door to Trans Children

  1. 1
    Lirael says:

    What a coincidence. I’m currently on my volunteer shift at GLAD (the New England LGBTQ/HIV+ civil rights law firm that, among other things, argued before SCOTUS in Obergefell) and we were talking about this. Grace, if you, or any of your contacts, or anyone else reading this, knows of any kids who have tried or are trying to get in and being turned away over this (kids who would be current students if allowed in, not alums who are unhappy about it), they or their parents/guardians should consider contacting GLAD’s helpline (info at, as GLAD is looking to talk to a kid/family affected by this policy.

  2. 2
    Kate says:

    I went to high school there, so I’ve been seeing this in my Facebook feed for a few days now. A few links for you:

    The thoughts of a trans Mount St. Charles alum.

    The history of sexual abuse allegations against Brothers of the Sacred Heart, including incidents at Mount St. Charles.

  3. 3
    Grace Annam says:

    This from Kate’s first link:

    When I was in the eighth grade, I received the biggest award for a junior high student. I received the Great Eight Award, an award given to two students in the eighth grade who exemplify what it means to be a Mountie. Since 2003, as a result of this award, my name has been inscribed on your wall of fame. My name stands as a symbol of what it truly means to embody the spirit of the Mount. It is hard, it seemingly impossible, to reconcile the fact that I could go from exemplifying what it means to be a Mountie – something I have endeavored to do since the day I received that award – to being a person my beloved alma mater refuses “to accommodate.”

    And so, to the faculty, staff, and administration of Mount St. Charles who approved this policy, to you whom I put complete faith and trust it, to you whom I relied on, to you who cared for me – you have failed me. You have failed not just me, but each and every student who does, who has ever, and who will ever walk through your doors. You have outraged me, you have disappointed me, you have hurt me, but most importantly who have cut down everything you taught me to stand for. I hope you remember that each and every time you walk outside the faculty room, every time you glimpse my name on the Great Eight Award plaque, because those 32 words inscribed in your handbook discredit everything you say you stand for. I am your student: what happened to “each and every student is known, valued, treasured, and taught”?

    Trans people are not an excludable Other. We almost always come from cis people. Our children are almost always cis people. When people tell us that we’re just too difficult to accommodate, too difficult to understand, too difficult, they are rejecting part of themselves. We are them. They are us. We are all human.


  4. 4
    Grace Annam says:

    It would appear that in response to a social media campaign by the alumni, MSC has removed the ban from their student handbook.


  5. 5
    Jake Squid says:

    Good for the MSC alumni and MSC community. We can hope that MSC has learned from this and isn’t merely bowing to social pressure from their community.

  6. 6
    Grace Annam says:

    Yes. We can also hope that they have not merely removed the offending text, while leaving in place a de facto practice.


  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    That’s wonderful news!

  8. 8
    Jake Squid says:

    We can also hope that they have not merely removed the offending text, while leaving in place a de facto practice.

    That’s always a possibility. My experience with private schools has shown that when they’re resistant to changing a policy that they’re loathe to change the text – even to placate their critics.

    My high school was revealed to have a sexual molestation issue that ran from at least the 1950’s through the early 2000’s. Probably longer than that since one of the main offenders was one of the school’s founders. When confronted with the evidence they made some of the most pathetic denials – under oath – of any possible responsibility for the crimes. They denied that the problem continued after the 1984 death of that founder even though one of their faculty members was convicted of exactly that crime in the late 90s. They have still not published any details of their new policy nor have they been willing to publish any statistics on the number of cases dealt with by their new policy. They’re extremely hostile to anybody who asks about it.

    So, for me, MSC rescinding the ban from their handbook is a promising first step. If the MSC community stays vigilant, I really am hopeful that the policy change will be more than just (a lack of) words.