Saturday, December 31, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

Two Students Expelled from Christian School for "Acting like Lesbians"

The case described below is an unprecedented one as it tests whether California state civil rights law (The Unruh Act) can be applied to private business entities as it was intended, in this case, a private school. The fact the principal of this Christian school expelled the students based on information he gained from invading their privacy is another issue for the courts. The principals' behavior, in my opinion, was outrageious, reckless, and homophobic in the extreme. The damage he may have done to these girls' psyches cannot be overstressed not becase there is anything wrong with being or not being Lesbian but the intimidating way these young women were treated by this idiotic narrow minded man and might I also say the very "UnChristian" way this man asserted his authority.

Sharon Raphael

Lawsuit Filed Against Private Lutheran School over Lesbian Expulsions
Friday, Dec. 23, 2005 Posted: 12:56:04AM EST

A private Lutheran high school is being sued by two students who say they were unfairly discriminated against when their principal expelled them for allegedly being lesbians

According to the lawsuit, the situation unfolded in the beginning of the school year when faculty suspected that the two students may be homosexual. On Sept. 7, the sudents were called into a meeting with the principal, the Rev. Greg Bork, who allegedly “interrogated” the students in a closed room and “coerced” one of the sudents to admit that she “‘loves’ the other,” the lawsuit stated.

By Sept. 15, Bork wrote to the students’ parents that “while there is no open physical contact between the two girls, there is still a bond of intimacy ... characteristic of a lesbian [relationship]. ... Such a relationship is unchristian. To allow the girls to attend [Cal Lutheran] ... would send a message to students and parents that we either condone this situation and/or will not do anything about it. That message would not reflect our beliefs and principles."

The lawsuit further states that the parents’ attempts to reverse the decision to expel their daughters were denied in October by the school’s board of directors.

According to a spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, the lawsuit is groundbreaking in its potential implications.

"This is an unsettled area of the law," said Nathan Barankin, communications director for the attorney general. "The public policy issues are religious freedom versus the right not to be discriminated against."

Christopher Hayes, the students’ attorney, said he believed the law is on his clients’ side.

"We believe that California law is clear. The California Unruh Civil Rights Act ... prohibits businesses from discriminating against people for various reasons,” Hayes said to The Californian on Tuesday.

Hayes said he believes that law applies to private schools because “it is a fee-taking school.”

“This is not a church,” he added. “They accept non-Christians and … they accept Jews, who as a fundamental doctrine of their religion do not accept Jesus Christ. What can be more antithetical to Christianity than Judaism? California law says you cannot pick and choose who you discriminate against."

However, Tom Scott, vice president of operations for the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents some 4,000 religious schools nationwide, said such business standards do not apply to private, religious schools. Cal Lutheran is not associated with the ACSI.

“Private schools don't operate under public schools' standards," Scott said, adding that private, religious schools have the right to decide who attends.

In the case of Cal Lutheran, Scott said it is similar to public schools expelling students for drug use or violence. Both public and private schools have the right to expel a student if they have a cause to believe they are engaging in a destructive lifestyle, he said, according to The Californian.

The case was presented to the Riverside Superior Court last Thursday.

Elaine Spencer