Monday, August 15, 2016

Some schools get state money, deny gay enrollment | The Charlotte Observer

Some schools get state money, deny gay enrollment | The Charlotte Observer:

Some schools get state money, deny gay enrollment

At least four faith-based private schools in Mecklenburg County receive taxpayer money through a state voucher program while sections of their handbooks prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students from enrolling.
The schools are within state law. It prohibits discrimination in nonpublic schools based on race, gender and national origin, but does not address sexual orientation or gender identity.
The vouchers, known as Opportunity Scholarships, offer up to $4,200 per year to students from low-income families for private school tuition. The scholarships are paid through the state’s general fund.
More than 400 schools participate in the voucher program, according to the Opportunity Scholarship website. About 50 of those are in Mecklenburg County.
Many have written policies against discrimination, but don’t address gender identity or sexual orientation. Four schools – Bible Baptist Christian in Matthews, Charlotte United Christian in south Charlotte, Lake Norman Christian and Northside Christian in north Charlotte – note in their handbooks that they reserve the right to refuse admission to a student who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The Bible Baptist handbook states: “The school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a current student. This includes, but is not limited to, living in, condoning or supporting any form of sexual immorality (or) practicing or promoting a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.”
An official at Bible Baptist said the school would respond to questions only in writing, but did not respond to emailed questions this week. Officials at Charlotte United Christian and Northside Christian declined comment.
The Lake Norman handbook states: “Moral misconduct includes, but is not limited to, promiscuity, homosexual behavior, sexual orientation other than heterosexual, transgender identity, or any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”
Wes Johnston, head of Lake Norman Christian School, said “there are certain things that the Christian church has stood for over the years. ... We don’t discriminate. We discriminate scripturally, if that’s a thing to say.”
N.C. Rep. Paul Stam, a Republican from Apex who sponsored the voucher program in the state legislature, said the program does not discriminate.
“Parents choose where to send children. And parents are free to choose whatever school they want within the hundreds of possibilities,” he said.
But Chris Fitzsimon, co-founder of the liberal-leaning N.C. Policy Watch, questioned the voucher program in a Policy Watch article last month.
“We’re asking taxpayers in North Carolina to support schools that they’re not eligible to attend,” he said an interview. “Why in the world should tax dollars be paid by people who don’t have access to the school?”

$25 million going to vouchers

This year almost $25 million was allotted for the voucher program. The budget passed thisSome schools get state money, deny gay enrollment | The Charlotte Observer:

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