A second-grade girl was expelled from her Christian school because she told another girl that she had a crush on her.
Chloe Shelton, 8, was kicked out of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma, after she told another female student that she had a crush on her, her mother Delanie Shelton told CNN. The incident reportedly happened last week on the playground. The child was immediately sent to the principal’s office for the next few hours.
“Before I was even called, the vice principal told Chloe that the Bible says that women can only have children with a man,” Shelton told CNN. “(The vice-principal) asked me how I feel about girls liking girls and I told her that I see no issue with it.”
The mother took her daughter home, and that same day school administrators told her not to come back Friday. The day after, the superintendent called Shelton and explained that they would be “ending their partnership” with Shelton’s family. They also expelled the mother’s 5-year-old son. Shelton said the school told her that they were cutting ties with them because their beliefs didn’t align with theirs.
“I was so blindsided. I was angry, hurt, betrayed, sad… so many different emotions. I couldn’t believe it,” Shelton said. “I asked him to have a sit down meeting to discuss it and process it better and he refused, saying that ‘nothing more needed to be discussed.’” The school’s superintendent Joel Pepin declined to comment publicly but submitted a statement, saying,” Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school’s policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family.”
The school’s handbook states that “any form of sexual immorality” goes against its beliefs, including “professing to be homosexual/bisexual.” It follows up by saying that students who do not “conform to the standards and ideals of work and life” at the school forfeit the “privilege” of attendance. The institution also doesn’t allow any form of public displays of affection, including hand-holding, hugging, or kissing. You can even be kicked out if you become pregnant.
Since then, Chloe has struggled emotionally. Her mother says she’s been crying and asking if God loves her. “It wasn’t a relationship nor a practice,” Shelton said. “Just a crush. To an 8-year-old, that could mean that she really enjoys playing on the playground with her.”
While the school shunned Chloe, the child has received an immense amount of support from people online. Particularly from a former student of the school, Kylie Holden, who identifies as bisexual. “That’s the kind of detrimental stuff that you deal with for the rest of your life,” she told CNN. “I just don’t want her to feel like we did,” Holden said. “I don’t want her to grow up thinking that she is not worthwhile because that is so not true.” Chloe has also received more than 150 messages from people around the nation, praising her for her courage and strength.
“She’s feeling so loved and supported now because of so many amazing people that have reached out to us,” she said. “She’s excited for a fresh start at a new school.”