A Christian school in Kentucky is accused of expelling a freshman student after seeing an image of her celebrating her 15th birthday with a rainbow cake and multi-colored sweater.
Kimberly Alford said officials at Whitefield Academy in Louisville sent her an email last week with the image of her daughter, Kayla, and informed her that Kayla was no longer a student.
Alford said she filed an appeal with the school, but it was denied.
“When I called the head of the school to discuss it with him, I was quite emotional,” Alford told ABC News in an interview Tuesday. “He told me, ‘Kim, the sweater, the cake, it just kind of represents gay pride … when you saw the cake you should have refused it.'”
Alford said she shared the image on her Facebook page and suspects that someone may have sent a copy of it to the school. She said the image was not intended to represent LGBTQ pride, although her daughter loves all people.
Whitefield Academy said in a statement to ABC News that Kayla was not expelled “solely for a social media post,” and said that she had violated its student code of conduct “numerous times over the past two years.”
“Whitefield Academy is a Christian-based school with a 43-year history of educating students in a learning environment informed by our shared Christian values,” the school said in a statement Tuesday. “All parents who enroll their children in our private school know up front that we ask the students to adhere to a lifestyle informed by our Christian beliefs.”
“There are numerous school options in our community for students who do not wish to attend a Christian-based school, and we wish our former student all the best as she finds a learning environment that is right for her,” it added.
Alford admitted that her daughter, who has been a student at Whitefield since the 6th grade, has had trouble following the school’s strict rules. She once got in trouble for shaving the sides of her head and was ordered to wear her hair down to cover it up. She was also penalized for having an e-cig on campus, her mother said.
When asked about her daughter’s reaction to the dismissal, she said the teenager felt hurt.
“She feels judged,” Alford said. “It hurts me too because I don’t want her to grow up thinking something wrong with her just because she marches to the beat of her own drum.”
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