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Key supporter of private school vouchers says schools barring gays should not receive one taxpayer dollar

Rep. Marcus Brandon, a key proponent of private school voucher legislation that made it through the General Assembly last summer, told NC Policy Watch that private Christian schools adopting policies that discriminate against gay students should not receive any taxpayer funds.

“I don’t believe they should get one dollar of taxpayer money,” said Brandon, a democratic lawmaker from Guilford County, in reaction to the news that Myrtle Grove Christian School in Wilmington just adopted a policy that excludes gay students and students from gay families from enrolling or continuing to attend their school.

Myrtle Grove Christian School is listed in the Division of Non-Public Education’s directory of conventional private schools, making the school eligible to receive private school vouchers worth up to $4,200 per student annually beginning next fall.

Brandon said he still believes in school choice and the school voucher program, which will siphon $10 million out of public schools next year so that parents can send their kids to private schools with  taxpayer money. That amount is expected to rise per annum if the program continues on in the future.

“We need to make a policy that says you [the private school] cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation,” said Brandon. “We should make a policy and I will be the first person to introduce that.”

Private schools in North Carolina are held to few standards in order to be recognized by the state. They must keep attendance and immunization records, administer a standardized test, maintain fire and sanitation inspection records and abide by a handful of other requirements listed here.

Public schools are required to accommodate all children, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. Private schools are not bound by that standard, accepting — or excluding — whomever they want.

The head of Myrtle Grove Christian School told parents he plans to hold meetings at some point later this week to address their concerns, some of which include:

“Why did we adopt this policy and why now?”;

“Are you asking parents to alienate their friends or family members who might be living an immoral lifestyle?”;

“Shouldn’t a Christian school want to include anyone who wants to be there?”; and

“Why single out or emphasize certain sins?”

10 Comments

  1. MLR

    November 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Eliminating receipt of tax dollars from schools that discriminate in any manner should be made a federal mandate, not just a state law. Great idea

  2. Steve Harrison

    November 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Marcus, that policy should have been written into the voucher bill before you gave it your blessing. To ask for it now is a waste of time, because Republicans will simply not support any legislation (of any type) that deals specifically with LGBT issues.

  3. ML

    November 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    A clear result of our shortsighted republican led government.

  4. HunterC

    November 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Brandon continues to be an embarrassment.

    He’s had a chance to introduce bills addressing this for years but only now sees the problem.

    Sheesh…

  5. Page McCullough

    November 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Marcus Brandon was told many times during the voucher debate that this could happen and he continued to staunchly defend his bill.

  6. Frances Jenkins

    November 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    How does one defend Lindsay Wagner working for a nonprofit?

  7. Alan

    November 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Frances,

    I don’t think personal attacks on the author of the article is appropriate.

  8. carl

    November 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

    GOOD EXAMPLE WHY VOUCHERS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS IS WRONG. THE CHURCH PAYS NO TAX BUT THEY GET TAX MONEY. I SAY TAX ALL CHURCHES PROPERTY JUST LIKE MINE, THEN WE CAN PAY FOR PRIVATE BIGOTS TO HAVE ALL THE SCHOOLS THEY WANT!

  9. Jack

    November 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    We have a state constitution amendment that institutionalized the discrimination of anyone of any age who is gay. If you didn’t see that charter schools would discriminate against people who are gay then you live in another planet.

    Charter/private schools discriminate period as per my experience. The schools have little tolerance for anything “different” since their job is to create uniform minds that think that the earth is 6,000 years old and man lived among the dinosaurs and that science is better left to the church. Galileo had an opinion about such nonsense but he was told by the church to shut-up and sit-down or else it would collect his papers and experiments to discredit him because he publicly disagreed with church idiot-ology. Sound like a group of idiot-ologist at the NCGA or even in D.C.?

  10. Morgan

    November 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    The problem is not with vouchers or charter schools. The problem is that we have a state that can discriminate in any situation because of one’s sexuality., Would we let Myrtle Grove off the hook if they did not take public dollars and had the same policy.. I sure hope not. Having a discrimination discussion around a singular issue like this cheapens the argument of equality. I know people against school choice will use this as a “i told you so” moment.. However, this is not the only space the LGBT community is discriminated against. Gay Teachers public or private do not have protections. No protections in work place whether they are state employees are private ones. The LGBT community is treated like 2nd class citizens in this state and that is the argument … bottom line. I know Marcus Brandon and I know he fights for what is right and based off the state we live in there is little protection for LGBT folks and he could not put that in the bill because it defies the laws that are already in the books to discriminate. Look at the bigger picture and fight the structural fight!