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?”