Shortly before the start of the upcoming school year, parents and faculty at Grace Christian School in Valrico, FL (roughly 20 miles east of Tampa) received an email from the school titled, "Important School Policy Point of Emphasis. ... Please Read." School administrator Barry McKeen sent the email and the message was simple: no gays allowed.
Grace Christian School in Valrico, FL has asked all LBGTQ students to leave immediately. This is probably not what Jesus would do. pic.twitter.com/qBg5k7WVGb
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 20, 2022
The email covers two angles of ignorance. One angle is that McKeen quotes Christian scripture as reasoning for deadnaming anyone who wishes to be referenced by a different name or gender. "We believe that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal dignity," the email said. "Therefore, one's biological sex must be affirmed and no attempts should be made to physically change, alter, or disagree with one's biological gender — including, but not limited to, elective sex reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary gender fluid acts of conduct (Genesis 1:26-28). Students in school will be referred to by the gender on their birth certificate and be referenced in name in the same fashion."
But why would deadnaming and gender ignorance be where they stopped? Why not just keep the ole ignorance going strong?! The email goes on to say, "We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7)."
And what do they plan on doing with these pesky gays and theys? Kick them out of course! The email says in no uncertain terms that any gay students are not welcome on campus. "Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately."
The policy is not a new one for the school. Because of the battle between changing attitudes in the country towards queer people and the dumb fucks who run Florida who are trying to fight equality and progress, the school sent the policy as not just a reminder of policy, but also as a warning that action will now be taken: gays will be removed from the campus. The email hammers these policies by saying that parents and students, "have to agree to all policies and procedures before your student may start school in August."
McKeen declined to speak to NBC reporters who reached out to him, instead posting a video saying, "I chose not to talk to the reporter, because usually based on the, um... callsign... based on the channel... that you can usually tell what they're trying to say and what they're going to be trying to prove. And, um... I think it was clear from the get-go that this person is.... is not for us, but against us. And so I chose not to talk to the reporter."
McKeen doesn't back down from his ignorant views, instead making it crystal clear that there is no gray area in the policy, and nobody was mistaken in their understanding of the email. "It is true that a student can not come to our school ... and be transgender or homosexual. This is rooted in scriptures," McKeen said. "God has spoken on those issues, explicitly, aggressively, and we have had these policies in our school since day number one in the early 1970s. This is not new."
Homophobia at the school is not just embedded in the school's policies, but is a common part of the experience at the school. One recent graduate said McKeen started yelling that not only does he know that there are LGBTQ+ students at the school, but that when he finds out who they are that they will be "kicked out" and that he "started yelling about how if you're gay you're going to hell." Multiple other former students confirmed these accounts.
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For some parents, the email was one step too far. The parents of one 16-year-old gay student decided to transfer their child to another school because of the email, asking for their identities to be kept private for fear of harassment. But readers will be happy to know that the student confirmed, "at the new school, I feel normal."
What I want to know is what tax dollars this school is getting. Because it's a religious institution it's a non-profit and therefore not taxed. So, not only are they untaxed, but they are also benefiting from taxpayers' money in countless ways. At some point, this country is going to face a reckoning with this absurd imbalance, but for now, we just have to keep fighting against this ignorance, and making sure we vote for people who are trying to codify protections into the law.