Hillsborough County private Christian school asks gay, transgender students to leave

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A mother is opening up about her decision to remove her lesbian daughter from a private Christian school with a policy that gay students are not welcome and “would be asked to leave immediately.”

“She was scared she was gonna open her mouth and expose herself, right but she’s not scared anymore,” said the mom, who asked to conceal her identity for fear of harassment.

NBC News first obtained an email from the Grace Christian School administrator in June that outlines the school’s human sexuality policies. It told parents that they had to agree with the policies before their students could start the new school year.

“From what I read it is not a new policy, but that was the first time I was made aware of that policy,” the mom said.

All of her children have attended the Grace Christian School in Valrico, but after reading the email from administrator Barry McKeen, she said she couldn’t send her youngest daughter back there for her junior year.

“I actually respect their opinion,” she said, “but my daughter’s wellbeing, right, and mental health is more important.”

According to the email, the school will only refer to students by their sex assigned at birth. It also states that any form of homosexuality or transgender identity is “sinful in the sight of God and the church.”

“Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,” McKeen wrote.

Neither the Grace Christian School office nor McKeen responded to emails from News Channel 8 asking for comment on why the school decided to reinforce its human sexuality policies for this school year.

“I have to say about that school – there are some loving teachers at that school,” the mother said. “There’s teachers that know a lot of these children are gay for sure and they still love them.”

The mom said her youngest daughter never faced discrimination, but at times she was left out. Before enrolling her daughter at a new private religious school, she said she spoke with the owner.

“I just want to know if it’s Christian based and he said, ‘Yes it is,’ and I said ‘I’m gonna tell you up front my daughter is gay and will that be a problem?’” she said. “He said ‘no, God loves everybody.’”

The mother said her daughter is thriving at her new school.

“I am accepting,” she said. “I love my children. I don’t care but there’s families that I know of that really have more than a hard time with their children being gay and it’s sad.”