US Department of Education names and shames schools seeking to discriminate against LGBT kids

A list of religious schools in the US which receive public money but are exempt from LGBT discrimination laws has been published.

The Department of Education announced in January that religious schools which receive federal money yet which have been granted federal exemptions to discriminate against LGBT students and staff would be named and shamed.

The list was published by the Department following calls from media and LGBT rights advocates.

“We commend the Department of Education for answering our call for greater transparency and helping to ensure no student unknowingly enrols in a school that intends to discriminate against them,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

“The alarming and growing trend of schools quietly seeking the right to discriminate against LGBT students, and not disclosing that information publicly, is what spurred our call for greater transparency. We believe that religious liberty is a bedrock principle of our nation, however, faith should never be used as a guise for discrimination.”

In late 2015 eight US Senators had requested for the practice of obtaining the waivers to be made more transparent.

Title IX of the Education Act, written in 1972, means schools with public funding cannot discriminate.

However religious schools were granted a waiver by Congress.

Responding to the Senators assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, Catherine Lhamon, said the waivers would be posted “on our website with a basic search tool so that applicants, students, parents, and others can be better informed about which educational institutions have sought and/or received a religious exemption.”

BuzzFeed has published the full letter from Lhamon here.

It notes that as of December, no school’s request for a waiver has ever been denied.

Lhamon wrote, “I appreciate your suggestion the we provide more transparency about the religious exemption requests received and [the department’s] responses. I agree.”

Both applications and letters to grant the waivers have been published.

Released by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the list of educational institutions published today can be found here.