Myrtle Grove Christian School amends, explains policy

Published: Nov. 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:28 PM EST
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Myrtle Grove Christian School is clarifying a new policy that could allow them to ban students...
Myrtle Grove Christian School is clarifying a new policy that could allow them to ban students who support a gay lifestyle.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Myrtle Grove Christian School is clarifying a new policy that could allow them to ban students who support a gay lifestyle.

Another email was sent to parents at the school Wednesday morning. After hearing from parents and several protests, the school removed the phrase "supporting or affirming" from the new policy.

An integral part of Myrtle Grove Christian School's mission is to foster spiritual development and a biblical world view in the lives of its students. This includes leading students to develop a biblical understanding of morality and to pursue a life that is governed by the biblical moral code. The school works in partnership with families to achieve these desired outcomes, which necessitates that both the school and home come under the authority of God for the benefit of the student.

For this reason, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home or the activities of the student are counter to or are in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, participating in, supporting, or affirming sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bisexual activity; promoting such practices; or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.

Originally, parents were sent a letter saying the school had "adopted a biblical morality policy to be signed by all families applying for admission or reenrolling at MGC beginning in 2014-15."

The email sent to parents Wednesday clarifies the letter explaining parents won't have to sign a pledge and "we are not even asking for their agreement with the policy."

Basically, the school wants to make sure that every family applying or reenrolling is aware of the policy and is including it in the process as a "click next" type step since the enrollment process is electronic.

According to the email sent to parents, this electronic record will be enough evidence that parents have read the school's stance on homosexuality.

Dear MGCS Parents,

We appreciate the many expressions of encouragement and support over the last week. We have had very good conversations that have allowed us to answer some questions about the Biblical Morality Policy and also to hear some very valuable feedback. This process has been clarifying for many people and has enabled the board to make a specific amendment to the policy. Below is a synopsis of the key points that many people found to be helpful.

First, a number of parents have understood this policy better when they have understood our mission and philosophy more clearly. MGCS is founded on the belief that God gives parents the right and responsibility to teach their children and that the school works in partnership with parents. Our desire is that the things we teach at school will complement the things the child learns at home and in church. We do not want to cause confusion for a child or create division in the home by teaching in opposition to the parents. While some Christian schools may function primarily as an evangelistic outreach with a very open enrollment policy, MGCS does not, and our admissions policies need to be aligned appropriately with our mission.

Second, parents have found it helpful to know that we adopted this policy in order to speak more clearly in light of cultural changes that we have been following over a period of years. In a culture where there are changing views on issues of sexuality, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has encouraged member schools around the country to adopt written policies that clearly and specifically articulate their understanding of these issues from a biblical perspective. With guidance from ACSI, and after much prayer and discussion, our board felt it was important to adopt a policy addressing these issues. We want to be clear and honest with prospective families about how we view these matters and how our views may inform our decision-making.

In the course of our conversations, we heard two specific concerns from parents that we thought warranted further response on our part. One question was what this policy implied about relationships with friends, family members, and work associates. Some people inferred that the school was asking parents to alienate people who are dear to their family. That is absolutely not the case. Those personal relationships fall outside the scope of this policy, and we do not intend in any way to hinder them. Therefore, in order to help clear up that confusion, the board has removed the phrase "supporting, or affirming" from the policy.

Another point that deserves to be clarified is the purpose of the parent's signature. We did not say that we were going to have parents "sign a pledge" and we are not even asking for their agreement with the policy. We simply want to ensure that every family applying or reenrolling is informed of it. Since the reenrollment process is electronic, this policy will be presented on screen and parents will be able to read it and then click a button to navigate to the next page. This electronic record will be sufficient evidence that the policy has been disclosed.

While we are not considering further changes to the policy, please know that I will continue to meet personally with parents who would like more clarification. In the meantime, we thought this summary would be helpful.

Beloved, I was encouraged to hear so many of you this past week express that your child is thriving here. You shared how much you love Myrtle Grove Christian School and how much Myrtle Grove Christian School loves your child. You know from your own experience that love is the defining quality of our school, and that will continue to be true. My prayer is that as we move forward together, we will do so "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3)."

Grace and Peace,

Stacey Miller

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