A private Christian high school in Kansas has announced that it is reserving the right to expel a student if any member of their family is transgender.
Trinity Academy, a private Christian school in Wichita, requires students and parents to sign a Statement of Understanding prior to enrollment at the school. The document states that all families at the school are expected to be members of the Christian community who regularly attend church, believe in the Bible, and believe that Jesus is the only road to salvation. It also prohibits the use of drugs and alcohol, as well as sex outside of marriage. Finally, it suggests that the school does not condone or tolerate homosexuality.
"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," the document reads. "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 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."
After a copy of the document was released online, human rights activists began to speak out on the issue. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin noted that while religious liberty is a fundamental right within the United States, he added that it should not be used as a way to discriminate against any group of people.
Thomas Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, said that the school was in effect holding its students hostage by requiring them to sign such a document. He added that nowhere in the Bible does it say it is alright to punish a child, be it your own or another's, for the actions of someone else.
As a result of the controversy continuing to grow, the school responded by stating the document was put in place in order to ensure that interested families fully understand the beliefs of the school. The school added that they follow biblical beliefs when it comes to sexuality and gay marriage, and that they are leaving it up to the parents to decide if they hold the same views or not. Parents are free to cancel enrollment if they do not agree with the beliefs of the school, writes Arvin Matthew for The Parent Herald.
In a statement, the school said that it has not, and does not plan to, deny admission to a student who has a gay sibling or is a homosexual themselves. They are simply stating that they themselves do not condone sexual activity for any of their students, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual.
There are currently around 320 students enrolled at Trinity Academy. The school announced plans to increase its campus earlier in the year by creating a separate building for students in kindergarten through eighth grade to be opened in the fall of 2017. Tuition comes at a cost of $10,000 per year for high school students.