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Eight-year-old expelled from Christian school after telling another girl she had a crush on her

Maggie Baska February 1, 2021
woman and her daughter walking together back portrait

Delanie Shelton said her daughter was expelled from Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma after telling another girl that she had a crush on her. (YouTube/9News)

An eight-year-old pupil was expelled from her Christian school after she told another girl on the playground that she had a crush on her.

Delanie Shelton, the girl’s mother, said that Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma, expelled her eight-year-old daughter after she told another student that she had a crush on her.

Shelton told Fox23 News that her daughter Chloe was immediately removed from the playground and spent the next few hours in the principal’s office, missing class as a result.

“[Chloe] said the vice principal sat her down and says the Bible says you can only marry a man and have children with a man,” Shelton said. “My daughter was crying, saving, ‘Does God still love me?'”

Rejoice Christian School told Shelton they do not condone boyfriend/girlfriend relationships on campus. But the student handbook does not say this is grounds for expulsion.

In a statement, Rejoice Christian School superintendent Joel Pepin said: “Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school’s policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family.”

Shelton said the vice principal asked “me how I feel about girls liking girls, and I told her that I see no issue with it”.

She took her daughter home that day, and school administrators told her not to come back on Friday. Shelton said Pepin called her the next day saying that the school was “ending their partnership” with the family – also expelling Shelton’s five-year-old son. 

When Shelton asked for specifics, he said her beliefs did not align with theirs, Shelton said.

‘I was so blindsided’

Shelton told CNN that she was “blindsided” by the school’s move to expel both of her children over her daughter’s crush. She said: “I was angry, hurt, betrayed, sad… so many different emotions.”

“I just 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’.”

Morgan Allen from Oklahomans for Equality told Fox23 that no school – Christian or not – should make a child feel that way. 

“The hardest thing about this is we’re telling children that it’s wrong to love that it is bad to feel,” Allen said. “And the worst part is coming from a Christian school, we are saying god doesn’t love you for who you are, and that is not true.”

The school handbook says ‘sexual immorality’ is grounds for dismissal

According to CNN, Rejoice Christian School’s handbook states that “any form of sexual immorality” goes against its beliefs, including professing to be homosexual/bisexual. The handbook states students who do not “conform to the standards and ideals of work and life” at the school forfeit the “privilege” of attendance.

But Shelton said her daughter’s confession “wasn’t a relationship nor a practice”. She added it was “just a crush”.

“To an eight-year-old, that could just mean that she really enjoys playing on the playground with her,” Shelton said. 

More: Christian, Homophobia, Oklahoma, Rejoice Christian School, Religion

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