Teachers have begun to flee a private school in Kansas City, Missouri amid allegations that the school in question has begun to pressure faculty there to expel gay students.
At least three teachers will not return to Whitefield Academy, a self-described K-12 Christian School, next year allegedly owing to the school’s policy. Whitefield requires all faculty to sign on to a mission statement affirming “core principles.” Initial reports suggested that an amended mission statement would require all faculty to identify gay students at the school for removal.
Now Kansas City newspaper The Pitch reports that school administrators have denied the charges that Whitefield formally requires teachers to sign a statement agreeing to expel gay students. The school’s headmaster, Dr. Quentin Johnston, issued a statement to the press clarifying that the school’s mission statement all faculty must sign does not mention the removal of gay students.
“We have not asked our teachers to sign a statement or letter such as you describe,” Johnston said. “As in past years, we ask teachers and parents to understand and consent to the standards outlined in our Statement of Faith and core documents, which have not been altered in several years.”
Following news of the scandal reaching the press, Johnston also sent a similarly-worded statement home to parents of Whitefield students. In part, it read:
We firmly believe every person has been made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. In some cases, there are those who do not understand the biblical principles associated with our core beliefs. Such is the case this week when a news story made claims about our school that were neither accurate nor true.
The Board of Trustees and I want to make sure you, as parents, understand our policies and procedures. To be clear, we have not asked our teachers to sign a statement such as described in the news story. As in prior years, teachers have been asked to affirm their personal belief and agreement with our statement of faith and core documents.
We are also in the process of receiving faculty contracts for the next academic calendar year. As is normal in personnel matters, there are some faculty members who will not be returning, as well as new faculty joining our community in the fall.
Not all parents have accepted Johnston’s assurances, however. One anonymous parent told The Pitchthat while the mission statement itself may not condemn or target gay students, faculty understand they are to be singled out and removed.
“It’s been unspoken I suppose up until now, and now they’re now they’re formalizing that in a way that makes me really uncomfortable,” the parent says. “We know the suicide rates for kids that are not in affirming families. And when I think about those same kids going to school and knowing that every adult in that school has signed a piece of paper saying they are not welcome there, it just hurts my heart to think about.”
At the time of this writing, administrators at Whitefield Academy have not further commented on the school’s policy regarding LGBTQ students. The story is just the latest in a series of headlines about religious, private schools discriminating against queer students. Last year, a Christian school in Texas opted to expel a gay student under a similar onus. That discrimination also extends to secondary schools, with a number of high-profile Christian colleges and universities expelling gay students or worse, forcing them to attend conversion therapy.