Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars Are Going To Schools That Push Conversion Therapy - 2020-06-10
But HuffPost's findings raise questions about what it means to have taxpayer dollars supporting institutions that not only openly discriminate against LGBTQ children but also push them toward programs that have long been debunked by mainstream medical and mental health institutions, and often cause severe harm. One study from 2018 found that LGBTQ people who had received interventions from religious leaders, therapists and parents trying to change their sexual orientation were three times more likely to attempt suicide than other LGBTQ people. Twenty states and the District of Columbia ban licensed health professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors; Florida is not among those states.
"Schools are places where youth should feel safe and have the opportunity to grow and mature into their best selves. Instead, they find themselves under threat from a practice that has no basis in science and is tied to potentially significant harms," said Casey Pick, senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.
Indeed, the number of public dollars going to private schools ― even potentially ones with discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies ― may increase in the near future. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has always used her position to try to increase private school choice, but she's had more success during the COVID-19 pandemic: A new program allows states to apply for federal coronavirus relief dollars to help families cover school expenses ranging from technology services to private school tuition. Public school advocates say it's part of DeVos's larger agenda to shift funding away from the public school system ― which serves 90% of kids in the country ― to private, often religious, institutions.