Sharon Wright is suing the Covenant Christian Academy, a Christian school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for suspending her son, who is a student at the school after he announced that he was gay in a social media blog and fired her after repeated attempt to 'fix her son' fail.
According to Courthouse News -
Wright claims she had taught full time at the defendant school since 2002, enrolled her two sons there, and was teaching fifth grade when the situation blew up. She says the school refused to renew her contract after she asked for accommodations for her adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression, brought on by harassment from the school's board members, administrators and faculty.
Wright says one of her sons, then a high school senior, announced his sexual orientation on a social media blog on Oct. 12, 2009.
When school administrators learned of this, she says, they "took steps to immediately suspend him from school."
The complaint continues: "In this regard, Mr. [headmaster Joseph] Sanelli instructed plaintiff and her husband that their son should not report to school the next day until the matter could be fully discussed.
"Shortly after plaintiff's son's declaration, plaintiff and her husband met with
Mr. Sanelli, Ms. [grammar school principal Gloria] Stucky, and defendant's Upper School Principal, Robyn Burlew.
"At said meeting, plaintiff was informed that her son was to be permanently suspended from school and would not be permitted to return until he "renounced his sin.'"
School Board member Rich Raynor followed this up by telling her: "'your son is broken, and it's your job to fix him,'" the complaint states.
And, Wright says, Raynor's wife told her "that this was a 'battle for [your son's] soul' and opined that he 'may have been abused as a child.'"
Wright says in the complaint that the Academy "embraces historic Christianity as represented in the tradition of the Protestant Reformation" and "views homosexuality as a sin."
Wright says she and her husband advised the school and its leaders that "after consultation with various psychiatric, psychological and pediatric professionals they had come to the conclusion that their son's sexual orientation was already determined, that it would be potentially harmful to try to 'reprogram' him, that they had decided their best course of action was to support him and love him for who he is, and that they could not agree that homosexuality is a sin."
She says she and her husband "expressed that they disagreed with CCA's doctrinal position on homosexual behavior, criticized said position, and would not force their son to renounce his sexual orientation as a sin."
According to the complaint, principal Burlew told Wright "that she (Ms. Burlew) would 'go out on a limb' to recommend that plaintiff's son be permitted to return to school at defendant CCA."Read the full article at Courthouse News.
"Ms. Burlew stated that, in her opinion, 'everyone struggles with sin' and that the plaintiff's son is no different." (Parentheses in complaint.)
On Oct. 15, three days after her son disclosed his sexual orientation online, the headmaster Sanelli sent White a letter that stated her "support of her son 'in no way affects the employment of Sharon here at CCA or the enrollment of [her son]. We support Sharon and consider her a valuable member of the faculty,'" according to the complaint.
After more discussions and emails, the defendant decided that while White's employment and her younger son's enrollment would not be affected, her eldest son would not be permitted to attend the Academy as an "in school student" and a proctor, textbooks and assignments would be provided to fulfill his academic and graduation requirements, the mom says.
According to the complaint, "at no time" was White instructed that "she must renounce her son's sexual orientation as a sin in order to retain her employment status with defendant."
But throughout the rest of the school year, White says, the school organization "proffered unsolicited opinions" concerning her son's orientation, including the board member's and his wife's comments above.