Friday, December 09, 2005

Lesbian Teen Sues Christian High School

(Link) Ninth-grader Jessica Bradley didn't expect to be booted out of school for kissing her girlfriend. And Covenant Christian School didn't expect her dad to hit back with a million-dollar lawsuit over it, either.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Emanuella Grinberg
Court TV

A lesbian teen who was expelled in April for kissing another girl is suing her private school to ensure other students never have to experience what she went through.

Jessica Bradley and her father, Ronald Bradley, claim that Covenant Christian Academy in Loganville, Ga., breached its contract with them by expelling the ninth-grader for carrying on an "inappropriate relationship" in violation of the school's standard of conduct on "sexual immorality."

The suit filed in Gwinnett Superior Court last Friday also claims the school invaded Jessica's privacy by airing details of her personal life and outing her to the community, even though her conduct was "private, protected behavior that did not have a direct and immediate effect on the discipline or general welfare of the school."

In addition to asking for a pro-rated tuition refund plus $1 million in damages, the suit seeks an injunction on the "sexual immorality" clause in the school's code of conduct so that other students will not "suffer the unexpected harassment and humiliation that Jessica Bradley did."

"The school is trying to make a contract out of Biblical beliefs," said David Clark, the Bradleys' attorney. "It will come down to the court deciding if same-sex kissing is immoral."

The suit claims that Jessica was expelled after school officials questioned her and other students about her kissing a girl at a sleepover and her relationship with another female student "off-campus and in private."

By bringing other students into the discussions, the suit claims, rumors and gossip about Jessica spread around the school community and beyond, exposing the 15-year-old to "public ridicule."

Principal Emmaline McKinnon did not return calls for comment.

While acknowledging that the private institution is immune from most equal protection claims, Clark says that because the school's code of conduct fails to define "sexual immorality," there was no way for Jessica to know that she might face expulsion.

"We want an injunction saying that you can't secretly ban gay students. If you're going to do that, then you have to come out and say it in plain English," Clark told "Right now, the code doesn't tell you anything about what sexual immorality is, aside from a few vague Biblical references."

"What Jessica did is not expressly forbidden in Scripture and a legal contract cannot be based upon vague principles of divine revelation," Clark said.

He also noted that Jessica left the Covenant Christian Academy with a 3.5 GPA and a 98 in religion class. The family has since moved to Pennsylvania.

"Mr. Bradley feels that this contributed to the need to move because of the invasion of privacy," Clark said. "He's really upset that other students got to finish the year out and that option was not offered to Jessica."