Teen Expelled By Christian Academy Over Rainbow Sweater Because They ‘Believed She Was Gay’

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 26 Jan 2020 17:58
Teen Expelled By Christian Academy Over Rainbow Sweater Because They 'Believed She Was Gay'Teen Expelled By Christian Academy Over Rainbow Sweater Because They 'Believed She Was Gay'Kimberley Alford/Facebook

The parents of a 15-year-old girl in Kentucky are suing a Christian academy after apparently expelling their daughter because they ‘believed she was gay’.


Kayla Kenney’s parents, Kimberley Alford and Mark Kenney, are suing Whitefield Academy – a private Christian school – over claims the school is in breach of contract, after it allegedly released Kayla’s personal records and did not follow its own disciplinary policy.

15-year-old Kayla’s expulsion seemingly came about after a photo of her posing with a rainbow cake while wearing a rainbow sweater was posted to social media. The rainbow flag has been synonymous with LGBTQ+ pride since the 1970s.

Teen Expelled By Christian Academy Over Rainbow Sweater Because They 'Believed She Was Gay'Teen Expelled By Christian Academy Over Rainbow Sweater Because They 'Believed She Was Gay'Kimberley Alford/Facebook

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, January 23, proposes Kayla – referred to as K.K. in the documents – was expelled due to the school’s perception of her sexuality.


The documents, filed to Jefferson County Circuit Court, state:

Essentially, the school expelled K.K. because they believed she was gay. As such, in Whitefield’s view, it would be difficult to “achieve the goal of [K.K.] becoming Christ-like”.

In so doing, Whitefield invaded K.K.’s privacy, defamed K.K., breached its contract with K.K.’s parents Kimberly Alford and Mike Kenney, and inflicted serious emotional distress on K.K. Certainly, in 2020 it is unbelievable that conversations like this one are still occurring — and that lawsuits like this one are still necessary.

The lawsuit also notes:

Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. If you fall in love with a girl, you fall in love with a girl. The fact that [Whitefield Academy] consider[s] is a disease [or a sin] says more about them than it does about homosexuality.

LGBT Sexual FluidityLGBT Sexual FluidityPA Images

Though Whitefield Academy has yet to comment on the lawsuit, they told NBC News the social media post was just one of a number of violations of the school code carried out by the teenager.

The school stated:

Inaccurate media reports are circling stating that the student in question was expelled from our school solely for a social media post. In the fall, we met with the student to give her a final chance to begin to adhere to our code of conduct. Unfortunately, she did not live up to the agreement, and therefore, has been expelled.


Kayla’s mum Kimberley said her daughter had been on probation since October for ‘some behavioural issues’, but claims there were clear signs the teenager was singled out for her ‘perceived sexuality’.

A letter to the family, signed by the schools’ head Bruce Jacobson, said the photo of the rainbow cake and sweater ‘demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.’

Whitefield Academy schoolWhitefield Academy schoolGoogle Maps

The letter continued:

We made it clear that any further promotion, celebration, or any other actions and attitudes that are counter to Whitefield’s philosophy would not be tolerated. As a result, we regret to inform you that Kayla is being dismissed from the school immediately.

In the school’s student handbook, it states one of the schools’ ‘Core Values’ is ‘Compassion and respect for all people’. However, it later states ‘sexual immorality’ and ‘homosexual orientation’ are ‘counter or in opposition to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches.’

Kimberley said she wanted to share her daughter’s story as she believes Kayla was treated ‘unjustly’, saying: ‘I just want to defend her in a graceful way. I want to stand up for my child. Just treat people with kindness and love, and don’t be judgemental.’

UNILAD has contacted Whitefield Academy for comment.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life, Academy, christian, Expelled, gay, kentucky, LGBTQ+, Rainbow, School, Sue, Sweater


NBC News and 1 other
  1. NBC News

    Suit filed against Christian school that expelled girl after rainbow birthday photo

  2. Whitefield Academy

    Parent/Student Handbook