The Star-News’ Pressley Baird reports that Myrtle Grove Christian School in Wilmington will not accept publicly-funded private school vouchers.
This news comes on the heels of the school’s announcement last month that all Myrtle Grove families must sign policy statements indicating they will not engage in any homosexual activity. Gay students and students from gay families will be barred from attending the school beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
The school then changed their policy to say that while parents and students were not required to sign it, they were required to endorse it during the application process by reading the text of the policy and “clicking next” while applying online.
Students who attend the private Christian school are eligible to participate in the new Opportunity Scholarship program, which will begin next fall and provide students with up to $4,200 annually to leave their public schools and attend private ones instead. The list of private schools eligible to receive the voucher money is on the state’s Division of Non-Public Education website here.
Parents and community members opposed to Myrtle Grove’s new policy have participated in protests at the school on Sundays since the announcement was made. Opponents also created a Facebook page, “Boycott Myrtle Grove Christian School.”
Equality NC, an LGBT advocacy organization, has called for schools that discriminate against the LGBT community to not be eligible to participate in the Opportunity Scholarship program.
John L. Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, characterized Equality NC’s campaign as “yet another example of homosexual activists attempting to force their agenda upon the people of North Carolina, even if it means trampling the First Amendment rights of Christian schools and families in the process.”
Rustin also pointed out the following:
The fact is that a large percentage of private schools in North Carolina that are eligible to participate in the Opportunity Scholarship program are religious schools with the constitutional right to determine their own admissions and behavior policies.
Myrtle Grove, however, is taking themselves out of the running for taxpayer dollars in order to stay true to their “biblical morality policy” to exclude gays.
This begs the question: how many more of the roughly 500 private religious schools in the state adhere to similar anti-LGBT policies—and will they refuse taxpayer dollars as well?