An 8-year-old girl has been kicked out of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma — simply because she told another female student she had a crush on her.
SAY WHAT?! Apparently, not only was Chloe Shelton expelled, but she told her mother, Delanie Shelton, that the vice principal called her into the office to lecture her about same-sex relationships. On January 27, her mom revealed to the local news that:
“[Chloe] said the vice principal sat her down and says the bible says you can only marry a man and have children with a man. My daughter was crying saying ‘Does God still love me?’”
Wow. This is just heartbreaking and so uncalled for. What kind of example do the adults at this school think they’re setting?!
What’s even worse is that, allegedly, the school told Delanie that the true reason for expulsion had to do with their policy against dating relationships of any kind. But when a broadcaster reached out to the school for a comment on this, Rejoice Christian referred them to their handbook — which made no mention of relationships as a reason to kick a student out. Delanie added:
“They ripped my kids out of the only school they’ve ever really known away from their teachers and friends they’ve had over the past four years over something my daughter probably doesn’t know or fully understand.”
Totally unfair. And instead of nurturing a girl and making her feel safe in a community, they brushed her away.
We’ve been digging to see what we could find in terms of a statement from the school. However, since the news dropped, there’s been almost radio silence coming from them. We checked their website, Twitter, and Facebook — nadda. Even on their Facebook page, they’ve posted absolutely nothing about the situation, and a couple other concerned citizens decided to post on their page to point out the awful news. Seems like RCS is turning a blind eye to the obvious.
When local news questioned the school about their handbook policy not directly stating kids couldn’t date, Rejoice Christian School Superintendent Joel Pepin simply said:
“Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school’s policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family.”
Which to us seems like code for, “We messed up big, and we don’t want to talk about it.”
As crazy and unjust as this all is, there’s a very unfortunate reality when it comes to private schools: they can usually get away with expelling kids for whatever reason they want. From what we’ve researched, people can sometimes fight the educational institution in question if the school expelled a kid who clearly didn’t break any rules, BUT it sounds like a very hard battle to win.
While we didn’t find any laws pertaining to private schools and kicking out students based on sexual orientation, we wanted to make people aware that if you’re ever in a situation in a public school, there are definitely ways to fight harassment. Per the ACLU District of California website:
“Under the U.S. Constitution, public schools have to address any harassment against LGBT students the same way they would address harassment against any other student. And a federal education law called Title IX bars public schools from ignoring harassment based on gender stereotyping.”
Though it looks like Chloe Delanie will have to find another school, there is a silver lining in this mess. The community where she lives has come together in support after the way she was treated. Starting the weekend of January 30, her friends and neighbors will be organizing a parade route in support of Chloe. So, while the school’s silence speaks volumes, so too does the activism from the community.
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