Eight-year-old Chloe Shelton and her brother were expelled because her actions constituted the school's definition of "sexual immorality."
Chloe Shelton, aged eight, is a second-grader at Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma. Last week, she was reportedly expelled from her school for telling another girl student she had a crush on her. When the incident took place, the young girl was immediately removed from the school playground and spent the next few hours in the principal's office. This caused her to miss out on lesson time. Her mother, Delanie Shelton, was called to take her home. She was then instructed not to bring her daughter back on Friday. The next day, she was informed that the school was "ending their partnership," and her five-year-old son was also removed from the school, CNN reports.
“[Chloe] said the vice principal sat her down and said the bible says you can only marry a man and have children with a man,” Shelton said. “My daughter was crying saying ‘Does God still love me?’”https://t.co/jqT8rr6MrL— Abigail Ogle (@KOCOAbigail) January 27, 2021
"Before I was even called, the vice principal told Chloe that the Bible says that women can only have children with a man," the mother told the news outlet in an interview. "[The vice principal] asked me how I feel about girls liking girls and I told her that I see no issue with it." When Shelton asked the vice principal for specifics regarding her children's expulsions, he simply said her beliefs did not align with his. Evidently, this has had a painful impact on the family as a whole.
The girl’s mother says her daughter had been attending Rejoice Christian Schools in Owasso, Oklahoma, but says their family is not allowed to return.https://t.co/XIxTw9Tj4h— News 10 (@KTVL) January 29, 2021
Shelton stated, "I was so blindsided. I was angry, hurt, betrayed, sad... So many different emotions. I just couldn't believe it. I asked him to have a sit down meeting to discuss it and process it better and he refused, saying that 'nothing more needed to be discussed.'" Meanwhile, the school has refused to share a comment regarding the incident. Declining to pass a public comment, Superintendent Joel Pepin asserted, "Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school's policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family." Nonetheless, as per the school's handbook, "sexual immorality" is grounds for dismissal.
Rough introduction to a cold world, wishing Chloe all the success in the world.— Mike Oakenshield (@myecoll) January 29, 2021
“Delanie Shelton said her 8-year-old daughter, Chloe was kicked out of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso because Chloe told another girl she had a crush on her.” https://t.co/rGv6EhHgMj
Sexual immorality includes "professing to be homosexual/bisexual." The handbook reads that students who do not "conform to the standards and ideals of work and life" will not have the "privilege" of attending the school. Other forms of sexual immorality include public displays of affection such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing. In addition to this, pregnancy is grounds for dismissal but students may be "placed on homebound" in order to ensure other students are not "drawn by bad example to do likewise." Shelton admitted that she did not explicitly read the handbook when she first enrolled her children into Rejoice Christian School as a four-year-old for pre-kindergarten. She also did not know that her daughter would say she had a crush on another girl at school.
Rejoice Christian School: God loves you, and made you in his image, and forgives your sins (unless you’re 8 and tell another girl you think she’s cute). https://t.co/lKjNi2KtwS— Aaron & Armando (@degeneratesCH) January 28, 2021
"It wasn't a relationship nor a practice," the mother said. "Just a crush. To an eight-year-old, that could just mean that she really enjoys playing on the playground with her." Initially, little Chloe was devastated; she would cry and ask if God still loved her. In the aftermath of the expulsions, Shelton and her daughter have received hundreds of encouraging letters from folks across the United States. This was spurred on by 26-year-old Kylie Holden, an alum of the school. She identifies as bisexual, and during her time at the school, she was threatened with expulsion. Therefore, she waited until graduation to officially come out. When she heard what Chloe had been through, she was reminded of her own experiences.
My cousin talking about the horrible Rejoice Christian School pic.twitter.com/UjRvZDTgdj— Austin Ferrell (@Aws10_4Real) January 28, 2021
She shared, "That's the kind of detrimental stuff that you deal with for the rest of your life. I just don't want her to feel like we did. I don't want her to grow up thinking that she is not worthwhile, because that is so not true." So, the former student uploaded a post about it on Facebook and offered to put together care packages for the Shelton family. People from Canada to Louisiana have reached out, offering money, gifts, and cards to help Chloe. The eight-year-old has since received more than 150 messages. "She's feeling so loved and supported now because of so many amazing people that have reached out to us," her mother stated. "She's excited for a fresh start at a new school."