A Student's Honesty Cost Her A Place At This Christian School

Jenni - posted on 09/18/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )




"Rachel Aviles was one of the most popular kids at The Master's School, a K-12 Christian school in West Simsbury. She played sports, kept her grades up, and enthusiastically signed up for any extracurricular activity that would have her, this despite the fact that she isn't a Christian, though she insists she respects the faith.

Master's was good for her. And she was good for Master's.

This was to be her senior year and a former coach says she would have been up for all kinds of awards. But last spring she went on a class trip where several students, Aviles among them, pretended to be married. They made "wifey" phone calls to one another. They held hands — not unusual among same-sex friends at Master's, Aviles said.

Susan Campbell

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"Looking back, it was kind of stupid," said Aviles, of Hartford. "But it was harmless."

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Word got back to the administration, and the students were called in and questioned about their sexual orientation. When it was her turn, Aviles told administrators that she is a lesbian. Her friends knew. Teachers didn't.

Aviles said she was encouraged to withdraw, rather than be expelled. "It was a not thinly veiled threat," said Beth Miller, who met Aviles when the student applied to Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation in '07.

Legally, private schools — secular and otherwise —- have more leeway as to whom to accept within their ranks. The school's meadmaster, Jon Holley, said he wouldn't discuss Aviles because of privacy concerns, but Aviles' former coach, Heather Lodovico, said when she withdrew, Aviles sent her coach a text message.

"She texted me and said something like 'They kicked me out,' and I made a joke, 'What, are you pregnant?' and she said, 'No, worse. I'm gay,'" said Lodovico.

The coach said she immediately got on the phone to see if the decision could be reversed, but no.

"She's a fantastic kid," said Lodovico. "My reaction was: 'Wow. Your God's really small.' Whether it's a sin or not, take that out of the picture, and this is still wrong. I think God's up there shaking His head going, 'Really? Really?'

"From what I understand from talking to Master's, it wasn't the place for her," she said. "She wasn't a Christian and since she believed she's gay, Master's was not a fix for her. She could withdraw or they would expel her."

Lodovico said she didn't know her student's sexual orientation. "It never came up," she said. "I had no idea."

Nor did she think Master's would take this stance.

"I wouldn't say they were liberal, but they were laid-back," said Lodovico. "I never saw anything about Master's that would lead me to believe they would do something like this. One of the things they pride themselves on is they let kids be unique and express themselves."

Lodovico has since moved to Florida to teach and coach.

"They say they accept all religions, they don't discriminate," she said. "They're holding their standards, but those are not even made clear." The website mentions nothing about sexual orientation, and there is no faith clause, she said.

"I think my big problem with the church and Christian schools is if you're going to accept folks outside the religion, how do they know what the standards are?" said Lodovico. "If you don't make those clear, then let's let kids know what they're getting into. Let parents know."

Miller said Aviles was a stand-out at the foundation, which trains students to apply for scholarships to private schools.

"She stood out right away as super confident with a great sense of humor," said Miller. "She always stuck out that way. She wasn't a perfect kid, but none of our kids were. We took kids who had potential, the kids who got lost in the shuffle. That's the kind of kid Rachel was."

Still, when Aviles sat down to talk about her leaving Master's, the first thing she said was she didn't want Master's to look bad.

"Just because you've been wronged doesn't mean you have the right to wrong back," said the newest member of Watkinson Class of '12.

Oh! The irony! The non-believing high school senior, turning the other cheek. That sounds downright Christian, doesn't it?"



[deleted account]

That sucks! :( I agree, it's the school's loss. What the hell does sexual orientation in high school have to do w/ anything? PDA isn't allowed in the school regardless of sexual orientation....


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Sarah - posted on 09/18/2011




Honestly, I'm really not surprised. Like Sharon said, private schools can pretty much do whatever they want to suit them, and make themselves look good.

I graduated from a private Christian school & while we didn't have any issues (that I know of) with homosexuality, we did have a girl get pregnant her senior year. They, surprisingly, didn't kick her out completely, but they hid her away. They made her finish her credits at home, hidden away like some monster. And come graduation, they acted like she never even existed...didn't let her walk at graduation & didn't even mention her name. :(

This article definitely makes me angry & sad for this high school girl, but it doesn't surprise me that a private Christian school could be so judgmental.

[deleted account]

Closed minded and stupid, but doesn't shock me one bit. They probably were worried her sexual orientation might be contagious.

Becky - posted on 09/18/2011




This is part of the reason why, although we are Christians, I am not really keen on the idea of sending my children to a Christian school. I don't want them to be taught to be intolerant and judgemental. Plus, kids in Christian schools have the same problems kids in public schools do. They just feel a lot more guilt about them! And this I know from personal experience!

[deleted account]

I'd look at the school hand book and/or Code of Conduct. However, with that being said, a private school has the right to enroll or unenroll any student. It's tragically sad and demeaning to this young lady, a stellar student. Shame on the school-but the private school is more than liklely within its legal rights to dismiss her. Private schools pretty much make up their rules in order to suit them, and the school in question just happens to be a Christian Academy. The school leaders made it crystal clear that they are hypocrites and bigots. I would never send my child to school with that kind of attitude.

Becky - posted on 09/18/2011




If there was no behavioral code that she had agreed to stating that she was heterosexual (can they even make you agree to such a thing?!), then the school was not justified in asking her to leave. I can see if she had been involved in a sexual relationship, as I imagine that any type of sexual relationship between students, whether homosexual or hetero, would go against the rules of a Christian school. But to expell her simply for being a lesbian is out of line.

Johnny - posted on 09/18/2011




Their loss, apparently. I am guessing they may have made the decision out of fear. If the other parents found out they had a scholarship student who was a lesbian, who knows what kind of alumni funds could have disappeared. All in all, a cowardly, morally bankrupt action, but unsurprising. I am sure there will be many who are opposed to homosexuality who defend the school because she "broke the rules", but if that had been the case, there should have been other girls expelled. *cough* hypocrites *cough*

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