Discrimination

Private school expels student because her rainbow shirt was a ‘lifestyle violation’

Kayla Kenney’s 15th birthday was a happy event that she and her family celebrated with a rainbow birthday cake at a local restaurant. The teen wore a rainbow shirt and her mom Kimberly Alford shared photos of the event on social media, Wave3 News reports.

“She was happy, she looked beautiful,” Alford noted. “You know, of course as a mom, I took her picture of her blowing out her candles and I posted that on my Facebook page.

But after the photos were shared with staff at Whitefield Academy (a private school in Louisville, Kentucky), by Alford, Dr. Bruce Jacobson, the Head of the school, sent her an email.

“It was an email expelling Kayla from Whitefield immediately due to a post on social media,” Alford said. “I feel judged, she feels judged, just very devastating for us.”

School officials claim the photo is part of several “lifestyle violations” that have occurred over the past two years. In the email, Jacobson claimed the picture “demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.”

According to the school’s code of conduct regarding sexual orientation, students can be disciplined if their off-campus behavior doesn’t reflect the school’s beliefs. But Alford, who has since filed an appeal against her daughter’s expulsion, wants to know how school officials reached this conclusion.

“She loves to laugh and dance and that’s just her,” Alford said. “There was nothing intended by that and even when I went back and got the receipt from the bakery it didn’t say anything about representation, it just said assorted colors.”

Alford added that the academy refused to meet with her but said it would change the expulsion to a voluntary withdrawal so that it won’t affect Kayla’s record. Alford has since enrolled her daughter in public school, but she said she can’t help but worry that after four years of making friends at the school, the behavior of those in charge will permanently impact her daughter.

“You know we teach our kids what would Jesus do?” she said. “What would he do here?”

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