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Texas School Responds to Gay YouTuber's Leaving, Cites 'Morals Clause'

Texas School Responds to Gay YouTuber's Leaving, Cites 'Morals Clause'

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The head of a private high school says gay vlogger Austin Wallis was chastised for 'sinful' behavior, which violated the 'morals clause' of the student handbook.

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A Texas school has responded to allegations from a gay teen who claimed on YouTube that he was forced to leave due to his sexual orientation.

The Texas Observerhas obtained a statement regarding the issue from Wayne Kramer, the executive director of the Lutheran Education Association of Houston. The association oversees three private schools, including Lutheran High North in Houston.

Until about two weeks ago, Austin Wallis attended Lutheran High North. This week the 17-year-old posted an emotional video on his YouTube channel, in which he claimed that his principal, upon learning Wallis is gay, gave him an ultimatium to get back in the closet or leave the institution. The video went viral and has been viewed nearly 190,000 times as of this article's posting.

"Lutheran High North welcomes all students and their families to the LHN community," Kramer stated in response to Wallis's video. "We profess and proclaim our Christian beliefs with the foundations and authority taught in the Bible, all within the teachings of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. We respectfully require students to adhere to these accepted values and moral beliefs. Sometimes, as in this case, students have to make choices and decide whether their beliefs align with our community and we respect their choices. We also respect student privacy and do not comment on any individual student or their actions."

In addition, Wallis alleged that the principal called his mother into the meeting, and demanded that the teen delete his YouTube account. Wallis posted a coming-out video six months ago, and many of the following videos feature Wallis and his boyfriend discussing LGBT issues.

"The allegations you received have been misrepresented," Dallas Lusk, the head of Lutheran High North, told The Texas Observer.

Lusk added that the situation was "frustrating" and that students at the school are prohibited from promoting "anything sinful."

For clarification, he referred to the following "morals clause" from the student handbook, which are modeled after the tenets of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

"Lutheran High North reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant and/or to discontinue enrollment of a current student participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity; or displaying an inability or resistance to support the qualities and characteristics required of a Biblically based and Christ-like lifestyle." The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod is separate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is an LGBT-affirming denomination.

The high school was identified by the Observer, not Wallis, who did not release the name of the school due to the pushback he feared would affect the teachers who have supported him.

But he was not afraid to speak out about what he feels is an injustice.

"I think it's ridiculous that in this day and age you can be excluded from your own school for being gay," he said in the video. "When I came out I knew I was going to have bullies, and I knew people were not going to be OK with it. But I never expected it to be from the people who were supposed to protect you from the bullies."

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.