Non-public schools reserve the right to expel a student for a rule infraction, be it one of a discipline or honor violation, or both. Also, poor academic performance may lead to a student being expelled. It is hoped that all such schools print a clear and simple set of expectations and possible consequences for their breaking in some forms for students and parents to follow. As difficult as it is for a student and school, sometimes the best action is for a student to be expelled. But, in my opinion and experience as an independent educator, expulsion should be the last recourse.
Earlier today when I read the following in an ABC on-line article, I was disappointed: “A Christian school in Kentucky is accused of expelling a freshman student after seeing an image of her celebrating her 15th birthday with a rainbow cake and multi-colored sweater. Kimberly Alford said officials at Whitefield Academy in Louisville sent her an email last week with the image of her daughter, Kayla, and informed her that Kayla was no longer a student.”
Whitefield Academy, like all non-public schools, maintains its right to expel a student as mentioned earlier. Fine. Yet what I cannot understand, if the mother is correct, why did the head of school notify the student and parent via an email? I understand that the photograph of a student can cause alarm for a school when the school sees the picture as going against one or more of its core beliefs. Alford says that the head of school told her when she called that the cake and sweater represented gay pride, not a core belief of Whitefield.
On its web page, Whitfield lists its Core Values. Two of them are: Compassion and respect for all people. Whitefield Academy believes each individual is uniquely created by God and endowed with specific gifts and abilities. These gifts and abilities, encourage mutual respect, promote Christian love and provide motivation to resolve conflict in a peaceable and Biblical manner (Matthew 18:15-35). Commitment to family values. Whitefield Academy exists to serve Christian families in the process of education. As such, the school is supportive of family issues and concerns. We exist to strengthen the family through a balanced educational program that considers the academic and relational needs of the family (Psalm 127).
As a Christ follower, I am aware of the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality. I am also a reader of the Gospels, and as I understand them, especially Luke, I appreciate the two Core Values of Whitfield that I quoted. But, how can the head of school believe in them, if a student is expelled via an email. What kind of compassion/respect and commitment to family values does that demonstrate? Shame on that type of Christianity.
The question is not the policy of Whitfield, but the procedure it followed in expelling its student. I hope it will look at its Core Values and follow them the next time a student breaks a rule.