An Irish American teenager has been expelled from a Christian school after wearing a rainbow sweater and celebrating her birthday with a rainbow cake.
On December 30, Kayla Kenney celebrated her 15th birthday at a restaurant with family and friends. Her mother, Kimberly Alford, snapped a photo of her daughter wearing a rainbow sweater and posing in front of her rainbow-colored cake and posted it to social media, The Irish Post reports.
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After school officials at Whitefield Academy, a private Christian school in Kentucky, saw the photo, an email was sent to Kayla's family saying the teenager was expelled from school “effective immediately.”
The letter stated that the photo "demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy's beliefs.”
The school felt the rainbows on Kayla’s sweater and cake hinted to an association with the LGBT pride movement.
The Christian school’s code of conduct addresses sexual orientation and says if a student's off-campus behavior isn't in line with the school's beliefs, that student can be disciplined.
Alford claims that her daughter’s matching rainbow cake and sweater were simply coincidental and had nothing to do with the pride movement, The Washington Post reports.
"[Kayla] loves to laugh and dance and that's just her," her mother 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."
Bruce Jacobson, the academy’s head of school, has said that Kayla was expelled after “two years of continuous violations of our student code of conduct.”
“Inaccurate media reports are circling stating that the student in question was expelled from our school solely for a social media post,” Jacobson’s statement said, according to the NY Post. “In fact, she has unfortunately violated our student code of conduct numerous times over the past two years.”
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“Our code of conduct is on [par] with other private Christian schools in our area,” the school official continued. “It is unfortunate that one of the student’s parents chose to post internal family matters on social media, and we hope our former student is not adversely affected by what her parents chose to make public about her situation.”
However, Kayla’s mother says they're still shocked that the school expelled her so abruptly.
"I feel judged, she feels judged, just very devastating for us," said Alford.
Kayla has since moved to a public school in the area.