A Kansas Christian school, Trinity Academy, has introduced a controversial new policy that has brought the institution under some serious fire. The private Christian school, which serves students in grades K-12, reserves the right to expel students if they have an LGBT family member or if they come from a family that is “accepting of the LGBT lifestyle.”
School threatens to expel pupils with gay family members https://t.co/x8Uwcc6Z96— The Independent (@Independent) May 23, 2016
As Mediate reports, the Kansas Christian school’s policy is spelled out in black and white in the school’s “Statement of Understanding,” which has to be signed by the parents of each student attending the school. By signing the Statement of Understanding, parents affirm to the school that they and their children both agree with and support the Christian school’s questionable policy of expelling children with LGBT relatives and the school’s “orthodox Christian beliefs and practices.
The terms and conditions that apply to Trinity Academy students also apply to their family. And not just to their family’s behavior, but to their family’s beliefs. According to the Christian school’s agreement, students in homes where conduct is “counter to the understanding of a biblical lifestyle” may be expelled from the Kansas Christian school or even denied admission outright.
“Given the debate and confusion in our society about marriage and human sexuality it is vital that Trinity families agree with and support the school’s traditional, Christian understanding of those issues. Therefore,when the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to the school’s understanding of a biblical lifestyle, including the practice or promotion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a current student.”
The initial report of the Kansas Christian school’s blatantly anti-LGBT stance went viral last week, and following a massive public outcry against the archaic policy, the Christian school’s website was shut down, and its Twitter and Facebook pages disappeared as well.
KSN TV, a local Kansas news station, also reported on the Kansas Christian school’s controversial policy last week after reports of students being denied admission because of a gay sibling went viral. According to the Christian school, which is not a public institution, no student has been denied admission to the institution simply because they have a gay sibling. The Christian school went on to clarify that it wouldn’t necessarily refuse to admit a student with a “same-sex attraction” (the school stopped short of saying they might admit a “gay” student), adding that the Christian school doesn’t condone sexual activity of any kind for its students.
According to Mediate, the only way the Kansas Christian school could reconcile accepting LGBT students with its very unambiguous Statement of Understanding is that “would admit students with gay siblings as long as the family was trying to fix that person, perhaps through harmful conversion therapy or by kicking that sibling out of the house.”
The school declined additional requests to answer reporters questions after the story went viral, but criticism has abounded on social media.
@Independent That's basically Sharia Law. But they won't understand that.— Michael Shimaoka (@Metalmoccha) May 23, 2016
The Legal Director of the Kansas ACLU chapter, Doug Bonney, spoke out on the Kansas Christian School’s much-publicized new policy. According to Bonney, students and their parents have no legal recourse if they are suspended for their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of a family member. This is because Trinity Academy is a private Christian school, and the state of Kansas has no law that would protect LGBT students or students will LGBT family members in this instance.
Before the Kansas Christian school’s website, social media pages and general communication went black at the end of last week, it did offer a statement to prospective students and those critical of the school’s policy. According to the Christian school, they created their Statement of Understanding so that prospective students and their families would be aware of the school’s views on gay marriage and the LGBT lifestyle.
“We feel that this is only fair given the disagreement and discord in our society over such issues. It is then up to the family as to whether they feel they can partner with Trinity and support these biblical Christian views.”
What do you think? Are anti-LGBT student agreements appropriate for private Christian schools? Did this Kentucky Christian school take things too far by threatening to expel students for having LGBT family members?
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