12.17.2004

Gay teen outed then kicked out of Christian High School

Gay teen outed then kicked out of Christian High School

Christians use power to overwhelm gay teen in Dallas Texas. James Barnett, 18, was expelled from Trinity Christian Academy in Dallas this week for being gay and running a website for gay youth to talk with other youth about their struggles being gay. The site was pulled by Barnett when he was told he may be able to remain in the school he had been attending for 13 years at a cost of $130,000.

The school kicked Barnett out anyway. His story as reported by Ryan Davis is below.

Rick Barnes
QueerThoughts Blogspot

Gay Teen Expelled From High School
by Ryan Davis

(Exclusive - Must credit Ryan Davis/Notgeniuses.com)
What would you do if you were a closeted eighteen-year old senior in high school and your principal told your parents that you were gay? That recently happened to James Barnett, who was a senior at Trinity Christian Academy in Dallas, Texas.

It all started, when a young gay personal site decided to start charging for their service. He knew this would hurt the anonymity usually provided. "You have me and 50,000 other gay teens out there, who don't want their parents to know anything is up and a credit card statement saying XY.com Magazine would be a little obvious." He knew this would make people less likely to use the site. "When they released this greed campaign I said this isn't right, kids who struggle with this and need some kind of help won't pay money."


James Barnett

Diaries :: Ryan Davis's diary ::

Being able to talk to other gay teens on-line had provided James with support when he was questioning. "The site to me meant a great deal, as it had probably saved my life; it gave me people who were going through the same thing and we could talk. I could finally come out of my shell. So I created a free service that would give teens an outlet; stray away from drugs, suicide, alcoholism, etc."

So with the best of intentions James, a talented web programmer, started My-Boi.com. It went off well, and three months later he had over fifteen-hundred members. "I have personally received countless e-mails from teenagers who are experiencing what I was nine months ago, and say that this site helped!" Three months later, things changed.

A snoopy kid at school told several heads in the administration that James was gay and ran a gay-themed website. He was called into the office and grilled about the site and his sexual orientation. After the discussion James asked the principle repeatedly not to inform his parents. "I again emphasized and I explicitly said, 'I am 18, I reserve the right for my parents not to know and I do not want them involved.'"

What happens next?

"The first people I see to walk in the door are my mother and my father. This is where I bury my head in my hands and don't really know what to do, how to respond - I for the first time in my life have never felt that betrayed and first time I've ever been speechless."


The principle took it upon himself to out his student. "They tell my parents "I am struggling with homosexuality." My mother broke down in tears, my dad wasn't particularly thrilled..."


If this wasn't enough they took six days to decide to expel James from school, citing 'immoral behavior and supporting an immoral cause.' "The reason for expulsion and the suspension is the fact that what I have done/am is a Class A offense. I am not given a chance to appeal to honor council, it's "too sensitive";"

Before the expulsion the school made James pull his site. They suggested if he complied they might allow him back. They didn't and he was able to get it put up on a private server, which is costing him $200 a month. He thinks its worth it. "My site meant a great deal to me to keep up, since sites like it saved my life. I felt like it was stripped away from me and from a group of people who might not have been able to find a friend in a hard time."

James attended Trinity Christian Academy for thirteen years, his family paying around $130,000 in total tuition. All he wanted was a degree from the school he's been so fond of. It's ashame that they won't give him that.

As of last Monday, James has contacted the ACLU and is waiting for a response.

Update: 12/14 10:45 AM -

To clear up some confusion: The site was not stored on the school's server. James has a server at home and runs a successful web design company. The site was pulled so it wouldn't be “under his parent's roof.” I assume he makes enough money to cover the $200 a month bill from his design work.

James is currently attending a local public high school for the remainder of the year. He is currently living with his parents, and things seem to ok.


Update: 12/14 - 1:50 PM Also, Destiny6 suggested we contact the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram at letters@star-telegram.com.

Other Dallas Media: dc@smu.edu, vterefen@smu.edu, rtrimble@smu.edu, nregan@smu.edu, editor@dallasvoice.com, calendar@dallasvoice.com, jsimnacher@dallasnews.com, bmarvel@dallasnews.com, feedback@dallasobserver.com, letters@star-telegram.com

Links: Houston Voice

Trinity Christian Academy in Dallas

Notgeniuses.com

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is a pitiful shame. As if teenagers dont have enough problems as it is. Do not stereotype all Christians tho we are not all like that. They will pay their dues one day.

Peace Bill

Rick Barnes said...

This is more than a shame. The school wants to wipe this under the carpet. It did not hit google news until I posted it on peace earth and justice (www.pej.org). I am hoping people will respond to the School, and Dallas papers.

I know many wonderful Christians, in fact most that I know are great! I do not tar them all with the same brush!

I have a sister I love dearly, shebecame a born-again christian 10 years ago, since that occurred, she is convinced she has to save me. It is very sad as she feels the need to raise her objection to me being gay each time we meet, which means we don't meet that often!

So though all Christians are not the same, you have in the United States a far greater proportion of your population that are like the school in Dallas. That has to change or the US will look more like Iran.

Salut

Anonymous said...

Not to dis your sister or anything Rick but that is not a true Christian. That is a fanatic. Christians are taught to love and forgive and most are that way.

Jerry Falwell a Christian? I dont think so. He thinks he is Christ himself and is not all that squeaky clean I understand. Just as most Muslims would never think of commiting a terrorist act.

My sister died 9/11 in WTC Tower #1 and after I got over the shock of it all I realized that true Muslisms were not to blame. Religion is something that we will never figure out I reckon. Email me personally if you want, I dont want to take up members mailbox space with a religous debate.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

We had a Baylor (local college) seminary student have the same thing happen to him this year in Waco, Texas. Baylor is a self -proclaimed Christian school, privately run, so they can do anything they like.

Blessings, (name removed)

Anonymous said...

Please everyone, like Bill said all of us Christians-even fundemental ones- are not like like these ungodly, bigoted people. I won't air dirty laundry of the fundamental churches I have been members of but the reason I am a Christian is because of what Jesus did for me at a place called Calvary.

If I based my becoming a Christian or remaining one on the action of so many so called 'christian" churches I would have shoved christianity up their a_ _ a long time ago. But I refuse to throw the baby( Jesus) out with the bathwater ( heartless, prejudiced, gossiping, back biting, hypocritical, self-righteous "christianity"). Gang neighborhoods ( crips, bloods, gangster disciples, latin kings, vice lords and others) have allowed me the honor of walking their streets at night.

More than once I have put my life at risk to stop a gang war or killing in the city areas of Chicago, Milwaukee, Little Rock and Tacoma. Not only would most of these soul saving "christians" ignore these places at night but they didn't appreciate me bringing them to church-especially if they were black and god forbid if they were gay. I have a 4 year degree in bible languages, have taught in seminary or bible college both here and in Russia and someday I hope to pastor a church where all are welcomed and loved.

I am gay and was born gay but until recently I didn't have the guts to fully admit it to myself and you. I have come out to a few in person and dropped some heavy hints to others. I felt I had to come out to some because I could no longer stand by and see a youth rejected by his own church or told they were going to hell because they are gay--and if you are wondering Jesus never condemned us who are gay and the churches homophobic teachings are unscriptural.

So to all of you I beg your forgiveness on behalf of all Christianity on how we have misrepresented the teachings of the Bible and Jesus to you. You all are loved by a God who left heaven, wrapped Himself up in human skin so He would know like what it is to be you and then He stretched out His arms and said "I love you this much" and died for you at a place called Calvary. His name on earth those 33 years was Jesus and its His birth we are celebrating this Christmas. God bless you my friends and thank you Rick for bringing this story to our attention. And to James, that courageous 18 year old, we love and support you. Your friend, blaine