McCormick Wants LGBTQ Safeguards For Vouchers
By James Polston
INDIANAPOLIS — The State Superintendent of Public Instruction said Monday she wants an inclusive K-12 environment for every school that receives public dollars via vouchers.
“This is one that we feel is very important,” McCormick said. “We don’t think any school that takes public dollars should be excluding any of our kids.”
In 2011, Indiana lawmakers passed a school voucher law that allows any student to take state money that is normally distributed to the public school they attend and gives the state money to the private school of his or her choice.
Private schools have the option to accept or deny students at their discretion — setting up the opportunity for a private school to deny a student based on sexual orientation, gender or disability.
Lighthouse Christian Academy, located in Bloomington, was in the national spotlight last year because the school’s admission brochure stated the school reserves the right to deny admission to LGBTQ students because of their lifestyle choices but the school said they have never turned down a student due to their sexual orientation.
McCormick said she would like to see an inclusive adult environment, along with K-12.
Earlier this year, Roncalli High School was in the national media after the school suspended a long-term guidance counselor because she is married to a woman.
“Our Catholic schools are humbled to serve students of diverse backgrounds and we welcome all students and families who desire a quality Catholic education,” said Superintendent of Catholic Schools Gina Fleming in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “We are inclusive of students aligned to our mission, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and learning need.”
McCormick said that members of the LGBTQ community are three times more likely to contemplate suicide and five more times likely to attempt suicide.
That concerns her.
“Our concern that we still have schools that are allowed to have policies that are exclusionary of kids that fall under that umbrella and we don’t think that’s acceptable,” McCormick said.
Regarding potential changes to the voucher legislation, Fleming said she will continue to advocate for parental choice and religious liberties.
“We will continue to advocate for parental choice and religious liberties to be upheld in ways that empower people to make choices regarding their child’s education that are aligned to their values and beliefs,” Fleming said.
FOOTNOTE: James Polston is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.