A private Christian school in Valrico, Florida, has restated a policy that says students will be referred to only according to their biological sex, and that students who participate in LGBTQ lifestyles will be asked to leave the school.
NBC News reported last week it obtained an email, sent out from Administrator Barry McKeen at the Grace Christian School prior to the start of the school year, related to an “Important School Policy Point of Emphasis.”
The news outlet reported that McKeen, who is also the pastor at Grace Community Church, wrote to parents reminding them that all students will be referred to by the “gender on their birth certificates.”
Citing scripture, McKeen said, “We believe that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal dignity.”
The administrator continued:
Therefore, one’s biological sex must be affirmed and no attempts should be made to physically change, alter, or disagree with one’s biological gender — including, but not limited to, elective sex reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary gender fluid acts of conduct (Genesis 1:26-28). Students in school will be referred to by the gender on their birth certificate and be referenced in name in the same fashion.
“Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,” the email reportedly read.
McKeen emphasized this policy at Grace Christian School is not new and parents would “have to agree to all policies and procedures before your student may start school in August.”
NBC reported McKeen did not respond to attempts to contact him, but he published a video statement in response to the news outlet’s piece about the school’s policy.
“Our school just started its 49th year, and we’re thrilled about the work God’s gonna do at our school this year,” he said, continuing:
Earlier today an article was published about our school by a reporter, and I want to address some things that were in that article. I chose not to talk to the reporter, because usually based on the call sign, based on the channel, you can usually tell what they’re trying to say and what they’re going to be trying to prove. I think it was clear from the get-go that this person is not for us, but against us.
McKeen said “there were many things in the article that were true,” including that “our school and many schools like ours have a policy that does not allow students to be homosexual, or transgender, or a number of other things.”
He said the school’s policy on “human sexuality” also addresses “our students who are heterosexual,” noting “God condemns any sexual activity outside of marriage.”
McKeen emphasized the school’s sexuality policy is “rooted in the scriptures.”
“Almost every Christian school has such a policy,” he pointed out. “Why we were chosen for this experience, I do not know,” he stated, adding, “but I’m also not gonna cower from it, and I’m not gonna backpedal.”
“It is our policy now, and it will be our policy going forward,” the pastor and administrator said. “God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever – He does not change.”
McKeen said one of the statements that was “untrue” in the NBC article was the accusation by an 18-year-old lesbian who said she graduated from the school and heard the pastor “yelling about how if you’re gay you’re going to hell” during chapel hours.
“I can assure you I did not say that,” McKeen said in his video statement. “We are not a hateful group of people. We don’t hate students who are of a particular persuasion.”
He elaborated about the accusation:
That is fabricated. If a student feels I implied that, then they’re relying on their own ability to assess. I did not utter those words. The reason I know that is because that’s not my doctrinal position in any way, shape, or form, nor the position of our church. The position of our church is any sin, any sin, will condemn you to hell, and that’s why we need a Savior. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” … The Bible also tells us, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“So, I believe, and it’s the position of our church, and our school is a ministry of the church, that any sin that is not dealt with by the sinner will condemn you to hell,” McKeen said. “We teach our students we have to acknowledge our sin, we have to admit that sin to God, and we have to understand and accept the free gift of salvation.”
McKeen did speak to Fox News Digital on Sunday, stating further about the policy:
We don’t expect any of our students who are not married to be sexual, whether it be bisexual, heterosexual or homosexual. I tell people, if a kid came in the doors, exclaiming how he was having sex with his girlfriend that student would be expelled as well.
“The biggest issue that happens in this culture is because you believe something and you stand for something – that you’re automatically hateful,” the pastor continued. “This is a private Christian school where parents choose to send their kids to the school. And it’s not for everybody.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Barry McKeen” by Grace Christian School. Background Photo “Grace Christian School “by Grace Christian School.