It all started when Kimberly Alford posted a photo of her teen daughter, 15-year-old Kayla Kenney, wearing a rainbow sweater that matched her rainbow-themed birthday cake. Kenney is seen blowing out the candles, in celebration of her birthday in the now-viral image. Alford told TODAY Parents that “she looked so happy, I just wanted to share that.” Unfortunately for Kenney, her school saw the image and they took action to remover her from enrollment.
In a letter to the family, Whitefield Academy explained and defended their decision to expel Kenney.
“The WA Administration has been made aware of a recent picture, posted on social media, which demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.” The letter was penned by Dr. Bruce Jacobson who serves as the head of the
Christian school. “Per our in-person meeting on October 17, 2019, 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.” Included with the letter was the picture of Kenney that had been posted to social media.
Alford told TODAY that when Kenney got an undercut, a haircut in which the sides and back of the head are shaved or cut very short, the school responded by instructing her to no long wear ponytails and then they gave her a book by a Christian activist author, Jackie Hill-Perry who writes about how finding God made her stop being gay.
The Washington Post reported that Kenney was refused the chance to finish out her academic year that she has been transferred to a public school. Whitefield Academy immediately denied the family’s request to appeal, however, the school did agree to alter Kenney’s academic transcripts to show a “voluntarily” withdrawal instead of expulsion.