Teen expelled from school after wearing pride jumper and posing with rainbow cake
A Kentucky teenager has been expelled from her Christian high school after a picture of her celebrating her 15th birthday in a rainbow sweater and posing in front of a colourful cake was uploaded to social media.
Kayla Kenney went out to celebrate her birthday at a local restaurant with her family, when her mother, Kimberly Alford, snapped a photo of her daughter and posted it online, where it promptly attracted the attention of school officials at Whitefield Academy.
Speaking to WAVE3, Alford said, "She was happy, she looked beautiful. 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."
This Ohio boy was denied school lunch on his birthday over his outstanding balance:
Several days later, she was contacted by the Head of School, Dr. Bruce Jacobson. "It was an email expelling Kayla from Whitefield immediately due to a post on social media," Alford continued to the publication. "I feel judged, she feels judged, just very devastating for us."
The private institution alleges that the offending photograph was the latest in two years' worth of so-called "lifestyle violations". In the email sent to Kenney's mother, Jacobson said that the picture "demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs."
Whitefield Academy's code of conduct does address the sexual orientation of its students, and states that if a pupil's off-campus behaviour doesn't fall in line with the their values, disciplinary measures can be enforced.
Alford, however, is confused as to how the academy came to this conclusion by Kenney's choice of shirt and cake. "She loves to laugh and dance, and that’s just her," she 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."
She has since filed an appeal against her daughter's expulsion, and although the school eventually agreed to change this to a voluntary withdrawal so it will not remain on Kenney's file, Alford claims that Whitefield Academy has refused to meet with her to discuss the matter in person.
Alford is now concerned that the incident could have a lasting impact on her daughter.