St. Vincent’s Episcopal School in Texas has decided not to permit a child raised by two lesbians to enroll for the 2010-2011 school year.
“We regret the disappointment the mother feels,” the school said in a statement. “It is clear, however, that enrolling the child in a traditional Christian school, such as St. Vincent’s School, would not foster her own personal values at home.”
“And it might undermine the moral instruction of our clergy and teachers in the minds of our school’s students and parents. Our prayers are with Olivia and her mother.”
Jill and Tracy Harrison had gotten “married” in Canada in 2006; Jill became the mother of Olivia through a sperm donor.
When they enrolled Olivia, Jill said that she wrote her name next to the word “mother,” scratched out the word “father,” and wrote “mother” next to Tracy’s name as well.
School officials, however, said they thought Tracy was a man. But after the couple attended a parents night Olivia was denied admission.
“St. Vincent’s School as a ministry of St. Vincent’s Cathedral upholds the clear teaching of the Christian faith, the Holy Bible, and the Anglican Church in North America,” said Rev. Ryan Reed, Dean of St. Vincent’s Cathedral.
“We based our decisions about enrollment on what is best for the children of St. Vincent’s as a whole and in conformity with the above standards,” continued Rev. Reed. “We regret the disappointment the mother feels, but also do not understand why she would want to enroll her child in a school that would undercut her own personal values at home.”
St. Vincent’s Cathedral is a member of the Anglican Church in North America, which split off the Episcopal Church in the United States in part over the Episcopal Church’s attitude towards homosexuality. The Episcopal Church ordained as bishop the openly homosexual Gene Robinson in 2003, and recently ordained the lesbian Mary Glasspool as bishop.
Olivia has since been enrolled in another school with no religious affiliations.
At least one other similar case has occurred in recent memory, when two lesbians tempted to enroll a child under their care in a Catholic school.
Last March, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver supported a Boulder grade school that told a lesbian couple that they would be unable to enroll their children in the school.
“Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents,” said Chaput.
“That isn’t fair to anyone – including the wider school community.”
Such a situation he said, would put ‚ “unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.”