An 18-year-old honor student at Trinity Christian Academy in Texas was forced to leave the school after officials there discovered he is gay and had created a Web site to provide support to other gay teens. The student, who asked that his name be withdrawn after he granted an interview to The Dallas Morning News, said he was a varsity athlete and a winner of service and citizenship awards at the fundamentalist private school in Addison. He was active in the school theater, was a yearbook editor, and helped younger students with Bible study.
According to the feature in the Morning News, Trinity Christian was the student's second family, and by every indication he was one of the school's favorite sons. But when the school's top administrators learned that the student had created a Web site where teens chat about homosexuality, he said they gave him a choice: either leave quietly or face expulsion for "immoral behavior," which is prohibited by the school's code of conduct. In a matter of days, the student went from prized student to sinner outcast.
Today, the student attends high school in Plano, and students, teachers, and administrators at Trinity Christian are left debating whether forcing his withdrawal was the "Christian" thing to do. The case also shines a light on the moral culture clash with which private fundamentalist schools are increasingly wrestling. "I feel completely violated," the student, who had attended Trinity Christian since kindergarten, told the Morning News. "The big lesson here for me is that you can't really trust anybody. That, and I should have kept my mouth shut."
Trinity Christian administrators would not talk specifically about the case. Headmaster David Delph issued a general statement about the school's discipline policy. "As a community of Christian families we also believe the Bible provides insight to help us discern God's desire for our conduct," the statement reads in part. "Therefore we demand high biblical standards of behavior from our students both academically and socially. Our families are asked to embrace these standards of conduct by signing a covenant with the school when students are admitted. Within this framework of biblical standards and academic rigor, an atmosphere of enhanced learning, character development, and love are allowed to flourish."