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School Expels Kid for Having Gay Parents

By jeannesager |

schoolIt sounds like something to draw immediate outrage: a student was expelled from his Colorado school for having gay parents. So why is the school within its bounds to make this drastic decision?

Because it’s a Catholic school, a private institution where they’ve decided parents sending their kids to the school must live within the faith. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the Catholic church considers homosexuality a sin.

The decision to expel the pre-schooler from Sacred Heart, a school in Boulder, has – not surprisingly – drawn significant criticism. It makes you want to shake the administrators and remind them gay people are people too.

But despite all the valid arguments against the church’s decision, the validation of the decision issued by the Archdiocese of Denver makes sense:

To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching. Our admission policy states clearly, “No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese.”

When signing our kids up for a school, doesn’t it stand that we’d look for a school where we subscribe to the philosophy? Especially for parents seeking out private school, where they can actually pick and choose the learning environment. Like self-directed learning? Then you go Montessori. Like a rigorous discipline? Then you go with military school or maybe a religious-based education.

The point being while the church’s inherent teachings are wrong, the actions of this one pre-school is to be expected. And the question I’ve posed more than once to gay parents who opt for a religious school – only to encounter trouble – is why are you choosing that school?

There are some religious based private schools that have turned the other cheek and ignore parental proclivities – whether it be homosexuality or Protestantism. With churches losing parishioners at a rapid rate, they’ve had to accept “outsiders” to keep the schools open. Sending your kids to one of those schools is understandable, but even then carries a risk.

Do you want your school teaching your child that life in your household is wrong? Whether it’s teaching them that two moms is sinful or that your family is bad for not regarding Sunday as the Sabbath, the school is a place you’re sending your kids to learn and a place you’re telling them to trust. How then do you expect them not to be confused?

Until we change the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality (something some parishioners in Boulder have been emboldened to call for in the wake of this decision), homosexual parents can’t expect their kids will be safe in a Catholic school.

Image: dave_mcmt, flickr

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About jeannesager

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jeannesager

Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at jeannesager.blogspot.com.

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25 thoughts on “School Expels Kid for Having Gay Parents

  1. katekilla says:

    Lots of Catholic schools serve non-Catholic families. And lots of those parents choose Catholic schools because they feel that the education on offer is going to be stronger than their local public schools. Would I send my kids to a Catholic school? No way. But I can see why people might do it. And I’ve known plenty of gay Catholics!

  2. Jessie says:

    I don’t know why any gay family would want to send their kid to Catholic school, although I’ve known Jews who went to Catholic schools because that was the best educational option available to them, so I can imagine a handful of reasons. I’d like to know if this school expels kids whose parents use birth control, have had extramarital sex, have divorced and remarried, or are unmarried. And what about if the diocese finds out some kid’s parents are pro-choice or a mom has, shuddder, had an abortion? The Catholic schools would have very few children indeed if they vetted all the families of “sinners.”

    According to the Bible, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” He also said, “Let he who is not guilty throw the first stone.” The Archdiocese is so busy parsing political questions, they can’t fulfill their mission to educate children in a Catholic environment. Shame on them.

  3. Eric says:

    I think homosexuality is a sin, and I attended a Catholic school. That said, this is an awful decision. How do they intend to test each parent’s agreement with every teaching of the Catholic church? How do they expect to reach people with the Good News? When the church turns inward like this, its not good for the church or the community.

  4. em says:

    Good. Let the church alienate as many people as possible through their stance on homosexuality and the (in)actions they took to deal with child abuse in their church. Let them show their true colours so people know exactly what they represent.

  5. BlackOrchid says:

    Okay, well as a parent of two children attending Catholic schools, I just want to stress that this school (like my son’s school) is a diocesan school, meaning a “parochial” or parish school. My daughter attends a Roman Catholic private school – fully private – which is much more expensive and MUCH more inclusive – you certainly don’t have to be Catholic to go there. They are free to do that.

    Parish schools are cheaper, because they are financially supported/subsidized by the parish (and all the parishioners). They must abide by the regulations put forth by the Archdiocese. In this case, the Archdiocese decided it wasn’t going to make an exception to the “must be Catholic in good standing” rule for this child.

    While it is sad, it is the same at my son’s school – you MUST be parishioners in good standing to attend. They even made my husband and I get remarried b/c the pastor didn’t like the priest who married us originally! And I had to then redo both children’s baptisms because he was a letter-of-the-law guy and wouldn’t let their original baptisms stand. Some pastors/parishes are just like that. OTHER ARE MORE LIBERAL.

    But anyway, I’d bet my daughter’s school (or their “brother school”) would take this child in a heartbeat. But parish/parochial schools are a whole different animal.

  6. SeaOtter says:

    “They even made my husband and I get remarried b/c the pastor didn’t like the priest who married us originally! And I had to then redo both children’s baptisms because he was a letter-of-the-law guy and wouldn’t let their original baptisms stand.” Unbelievable! I am Catholic (non-practicing) and there is no way I would jump through these kinds of hoops. Although, I probably wouldn’t even be considered married by your priest since we only had a civil ceremony.

  7. BlackOrchid says:

    Right, you had to be (and this his parish so he gets to make the rules) married in a Church that you were registered in – we were not registered at the time (moving a lot) and got a friend (priest!) to marry us BUT they’d gone to school together and he didn’t like that guy and yadda yadda . . . it was a royal pain!

    Just trying to say I am in a VERY conservative parish. Very tough. My cousin lives in a neighboring state and has a much more liberal parish and never runs into the kinds of things I have. And I’d bet anything that her parish would be okay with this child. I don’t know why this got bumped up to the Archdiocese unless the pastor in question didn’t want to make a decision himself so floated it up there for a more official ruling. Or maybe the pastor allowed it, and the Archdiocese somehow found out.

    Yes it’s all a little nuts! A lot of parishes around here have become FAR more easygoing just because enrollment is so low.

  8. alison says:

    Well, I hope they are at least consistent and will begin to expel children whose parents had vasectomies or tubal ligation, IUDs or birth control pills (ideally, all birth control, but it is hard to prove whether or not barrier methods are used). Of course, they could just expel any children whose parents are younger than 45 and not having children every two years–I know, the church is making assumptions about what is happening in people’s bedrooms, but isn’t that what they are doing with gay couples? (after all, it isn’t against Catholic teaching for two people of the same sex to live together and raise children together if they are not having sex, is it?)

    The church has a very clear position on birth control. Just as the Catholic church insists that Catholicism is not a cafeteria, that people can’t pick and choose which parts they will follow and which parts they will ignore, the church itself can’t decide that some gravely sinful acts are worse than others.

    “Ignoring the mountain of evidence, some maintain that the Church considers the use of contraception a matter for each married couple to decide according to their “individual conscience.” Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The Church has always maintained the historic Christian teaching that deliberate acts of contraception are always gravely sinful, which means that it is mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent (CCC 1857). This teaching cannot be changed and has been taught by the Church infallibly.

    There is no way to deny the fact that the Church has always and everywhere condemned artificial contraception. The matter has already been infallibly decided. The so-called “individual conscience” argument amounts to “individual disobedience.”

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Birth_Control.asp

  9. BlackOrchid says:

    Vasectomies are A-OK and all of us practice the rhythm method, so we’re good!

    I’ve been thinking this over and I think the pastor of this parish must have okayed the family situation, and then someone else kicked the matter up to the Archdiocesan level. Otherwise the child would not have even been allowed to register. They ask a lot of questions pertinent to this sort of thing when you register – and you have to show your baptismal cert and I *think* the marriage cert too – so the pastor had to have okayed it at that stage.

    Someone else notified the Archdiocese.

  10. BlackOrchid says:

    PS – I’m sorry I forgot to mention, even tho there are principals, the pastors run parish schools.

  11. jenny tries too hard says:

    to clear up a common misconception—-it is entirely possible to be young, fertile, and Catholic in good standing without having a kid every two years…And while, uh, enjoying your spouse. Natural Family Planning, or Fertility Awareness methods are totallly approved by the Catholic Church, and they work as well as oral contraceptives when used correctly. The pastor may well dismiss families who openly spout the benefits of contraception, and I would be pretty shocked if this gay couple wasn’t pretty open about their relationship.

  12. Linda says:

    To all the people who believe you should be expelled if you have had had a vasectomy or tubal ligation… that is not an ongoing event. If you make confession and are sincere and are forgiven, then you are in good standing with the church. It sounds as if these parents continue in an ongoing sinful relationship.

  13. alicia says:

    Freedom of religion allows you to believe whatever you want, but in practice, you must abide by the human rights code. For example, you are free to believe white people are superior in God’s eyes, but you are not permitted to discriminate against non-whites in employment. The school is overstepping their reach.

  14. jenny tries too hard says:

    Under the law, you don’t have a “right” to attend any private institute. The parish’s decision is probably not smart, as far as drawing people into the fold, but it is certainly well within their rights.

  15. alison says:

    I cannot find any official Catholic doctrine that says vasectomies and tubal ligations are acceptable methods of birth control. And if someone keeps enjoying the benefits of the procedures, then it is an ongoing event (i.e. every time you have sex on a day you couldn’t even you were only using NFP, you are benefiting from your gravely sinful act). While I agree that natural family planning can be as effective as other forms of birth control (I used it for years), it is a lot to assume that every family that is not having children is only using this form of birth control (And not any additional methods when they find the calendar doesn’t correspond with their desires). No matter how openly people are living, we have no idea what goes on in other people’s bedrooms, be they straight or gay. We can either assume that they are living by ALL the teachings of their religious faith (not having sex when the Church considers it to be sinful–which for gay couples may mean all the time), or they are picking and choosing what bits they find more important than others. While I suspect the latter (and seeing all the people here who want to make it clear that what they are doing is fine with the Church, though it contradicts what I was taught, confirms this suspicion) I can’t know for sure. And neither can the Church. By expelling some parents based on assumptions, but giving others a pass, the Church is saying that they will let some people break the rules, but not others.

  16. katekilla says:

    Wow, Linda and Eric. Does it feel good to sit in judgment of others? Because it feel disgusting to have to listen to it :(

  17. Caleb Powell says:

    How forgiving of the Catholic school. Gee, well, one benefit of this is all the free publicity and advertising this will generate for secularism.

  18. Tyler says:

    Yes absolutely, I full heartedly agree with expelling the students from this particular catholic school. I mean, how dare this kid choose to have gay parents, how dare they!

  19. Tyler says:

    And also, Im sure that if lets say an iconic figure such as some guy by the name of jesus were the principle of that school, Im sure he would undoubtly expel that little young sinner too. Whoever you are, you people disgust me, let the kid go to school. Not to mention I dont understand the alienatin, and un church like messages you are sending to the rest of the world by stating that you dont accept kids due to circumstances they cant control. To me, that sever lack of empathy will only distance anyone from what you may preach

  20. Tyler says:

    Seriously, a preschooler!

  21. Kyle says:

    As a gay man, I have some very strong opinions about the treatment of homosexuals and the Catholic Church as a whole, but in all honesty the school didn’t exactly do anything wrong. They are a private religious Catholic school and they ahve their beliefs, which I’m assuming were known to the homosexual couple. Were they expecting the school to change it’s entire belief system? I’m not saying I condone it, but I understand the school stance. I personally wouldn’t enrole my child in a Catholic private school without being fully informed about it’s rules.

    The only issue I have, if the child was expelled then it would have needed to have been accepted already. So where in the admission process did the administrator meet the couple? If they did, then why expel the child now? That is the only confusing part to me.

  22. Rev Richard Deroko (UCC) says:

    Excuse Me ! ” Respect the faith of the wider Catholic community,” what a joke. The little moral authority of this so called church has been wiped out by the continuing mishandling, lying, obfuscation and downright illegality surrounding the handling of the ever widening scandal of Priestly abuse over decades ! Now including the very highest “authority” in the church, the Pope himself. Do these frightened and cowardly men think that they can continue this
    charade and expect our understanding and support. To now deny this child a place within this school is, and forever will be, the most and highest example of HYPOCRISY I can currently imagine.

  23. [...] Grossman brings to light an important distinction between the plight of the Boston family and a similar fight that took place earlier this year in Boulder, CO.  In that case, the ”Denver Archdiocese backed Rev. Bill Breslin in booting” a [...]

  24. Ashley says:

    So….it’s not of the Catholic faith?? Hmmmm…what about the rest of the parents who drink alcohol, smoke ciggs., abuse prescription drugs, curse?? That too is not of the Catholic faith. I don’t see them intruding into the personal lives of other families. Jesus wouldn’t turn anyone away…and no sin is greater than another in the eye of Christ. This is hypocrisy!

  25. Tiffany says:

    Okay the problem with this is are they equalizing in their expelling…what about an unwed mother (it did say “parent(s)”)…who is not a widow…or perhaps parents (like mine) who were divorced and remarried…technicalllllyyyy those are considered sins as well…I am a female who will someday like to be married in my church (yes I am a Christian) to a male…so I’m not trying to argue for any side just trying to state a point (this stated just to forgo any arguments)… I actually want to be able to send my child to a Christian school someday and I actually really wanted to go to a Christian university this fall but financial reasons I’ve decided to head back to a state…that Christian University states not to “show public displays” act of anything out of accordance to their Christian views…but you sign it ahead of time and know exactly what they mean. (by the way public displays did include between male and female relationships and lol the school also said no rated r movies…but it was a good school and while I might disagree with some of its views…overall the values and education I would have learned there would have been valuable in my field of study)…I think if the Catholic school was more explicit in what was or was not considered their values, there would be less argument…because obviously the child would never have gone…but to be expelled after the fact is wrong…its like they’re changing their meaning just to fit the example…and this was a very rambled speech but hopefully you have the gist

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