A Kentucky private school booted Kayla Kenney over a colorful social media post.
A Kentucky private school has expelled a student for her rainbow shirt and birthday cake.
Whitefield Academy, a Christian institution in Louisville, booted Kayla Kenney after her mother, Kimberly Alford, posted a photograph of the teen with the colorful items in question. Kenney had been celebrating her 15th birthday with her family at a restaurant at the time.
“She was happy; she looked beautiful,” Alford told WAVE, a local NBC affiliate. “You know, of course as a mom, I took her picture of her blowing out her candles and I posted that on my Facebook page."
The social media post was shared with faculty members of Whitefield, who took issue. Shortly afterward, Dr. Bruce Jacobson, head of the school, contacted Alford via email to inform her of the expulsion.
The photograph, Jacobson said, "demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs." Whitefield claimed that the rainbow cake and attire were the latest of Kenney's "lifestyle violations" over the course of two years.
“I feel judged, she feels judged, just very devastating for us," Alford said.
Whitefield's code of conduct, which addresses sexual orientation, does say that students may be disciplined for off-campus behavior. However, Alford is confused about any potential violations. Internationally, a rainbow is a symbol of LGBTQ rights and identity — but certainly not in every instance. The mother even checked the receipt of the cake, which only mentioned "assorted colors" in its description.
After an appeal, Whitefield officials refused to meet with the family, but the school did change Kenney's status from expulsion to voluntary withdrawal, which cleared her record. Now she is enrolled at a public school.
Still, Alford worries about how the religious school's treatment of her daughter could affect her in the long term — and even observed hypocrisy in its actions.
"You know we teach our kids what would Jesus do," Alford told WAVE. "What would he do here?”0
This Teen Was Expelled Because of Her Rainbow Shirt & Cake0