Children and teens in New York are being forced off-campus for education about sexual health and HIV prevention at the insistence of the Catholic Church. How can the Church get away with that? Well, it helps that they own the buildings in which the public schools are housed:
As a result of a longstanding but little-known agreement between church and city officials, dozens of city schools that lease church-owned buildings must take students off site for sex education.
So the church is using its ownership of the buildings to dictate what public school students can and cannot learn on campus. To my surprise, it turns out that the interference in public education has been going on for several years:
The city has rented space for public schools from the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn since 2005. The church’s no-sex-ed policy has always been in place.
The relationship gives the city access to needed classrooms and provides revenue for the cash-strapped Catholic Church at a time when parochial school enrollment is declining.
Two phrases you’ve never heard paired together (for good reason) until just now: “cash-strapped” and “Catholic Church.”
*Cue a single tear*
Using tax-payer money to rent school buildings from the church to the tune of $27,000,000 a year is really the least the city can do for such a humble and deprived organization.
It’s unacceptable that the Catholic Church can dictate what public school students can learn. What if they demanded that Gay-Straight Alliances or Secular Students Alliances be banished from buildings they owned? What if they found teaching about the Crusades, or the forcible conversion of the native peoples of the Americas distasteful? Why should sex-ed be given lesser status and where does the madness stop?
The city of New York should demand a rental deal that lacks ideological requirements. We’ve seen what happens when the Catholic Church takes over hospitals and we can’t allow them to be public school landlords as well. I hear New York has a lot of very good lawyers. Hire some to see if they can’t get out of this ridiculous requirement. It’s no surprise that school districts are in dire economic times as well, which probably explains their partnership with the churches, but the solution to finding space for schools should not come at the expense of the children and their education.
The Church cannot be trusted to do what’s best for kids and this is only the latest example.