ACNA school in Fort Worth rejects child of lesbian couple

Updated - Press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is appended below.

TV stations in Fort Worth are reporting on the expulsion of the daughter of a lesbian couple married in Canada by St. Vincent's Episcopal School in Bedford Texas. The child was accepted as a student, but when her mothers attended a parent's night, the school refused to enroll her because of her mother's marriage.

In fact, the school is not an Episcopal School, as it's not affiliated with the Episcopal Church. It probably needs to change its name to St. Vincent's Anglican School. Which one would imagine would make the operators happy since they decided to reject any connection with the Episcopal Church.

The NBC affiliate quotes Tracy Harrison, one of the child's mothers:

"It's hard to believe that a place that's supposed to take in and teach children about God and the basics of religion would actually discriminate against her because of who we are," said Tracy.

Though the school's handbook and website say that the school is non-discriminatory as to race, color, religion and national or ethnic origin, it doesn't stipulate that they won't discriminate based on the sexual orientation of a child's parents.

"We are a church affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, and it is their policy that we don't provide services to individuals or families that do not behave properly. We're going off our canons that say 'The Anglican Church in North America affirms our Lord's teaching that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong of one man and one woman," said Kenneth Monk, head of the school.

UPDATE:

EPISCOPAL SCHOOLS HAVE NON-DISCRIMINATORY ADMISSION POLICIES

Several news outlets are covering the story of a 4-year-old girl denied admission at St. Vincent's School in Bedford because her parents are lesbians.

Many of these stories refer to the school as St. Vincent's Episcopal School. While this is indeed a private school, it is not an Episcopal school. Clergy at St. Vincent's left The Episcopal Church in 2008, and have, in fact, been deposed by The Episcopal Church, which means they can no longer function as clergy in our church.

This confusion is understandable because even though they and former bishop Jack Iker have left The Episcopal Church, they continue to use our name and to occupy Episcopal Church property. The Episcopal Church is in litigation over these matters in the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas.

All the schools in the continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (established by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church in 1982) have policies of non-discrimination in matters of admission.

We appreciate your efforts to report this story as accurately as possible and hope this information is helpful.

For more information, contact Katie Sherrod, Director of Communications, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. 817- 909- 0070.

Comments (11)

Let she who is without sin enroll the first student.

Or,

Slurs of the parents are visited upon their children.

In our past, children born out of wedlock were treated the same way.

ACNA following right along behind the Roman Catholics: "For the second time in recent months, children with lesbian parents have been denied enrollment in Catholic elementary school. Most recently, St. Paul Elementary School in Massachusetts has withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year old who happens to have gay parents. This follows a similar situation in Boulder, CO." --See full post at Proud Parenting http://tinyurl.com/267hxnf

The headmaster of the school states, "we don't provide services to individuals or families that do not behave properly."

Call me cynical, but I wonder just how many kids could attend the school if that attitude were universally applied.

I also wonder what type of parents want to send their children to a school that punishes children based on the perceived faults of the parents?

This is wrong on so many levels . . .

"a union permanent and lifelong"

One wonders if every parent of every other child did " behave properly" lest their child be disqualified by divorce.

I wonder exactly what constitutes proper behavior? Are children of divorced or remarried children allowed to enroll? What about the children of various types of abusers?

I hope that someone at the Episcopal Church insists that this school change their name immediately.

annski - please add your name next time. eds.

"I hope that someone at the Episcopal Church insists that this school change their name immediately."

Actually, the school stopped using the word "Episcopal" back around 2004 or 2005. For a while, it went by "St. Vincent's Cathedral School." Now, it's just plain "St. Vincent's School."

Paul Powers

@Paul, "the school stopped using the word "Episcopal" back around 2004 or 2005. For a while, it went by "St. Vincent's Cathedral School." Now, it's just plain "St. Vincent's School.""

Err, maybe.

When I googled St. Vincent Episcoal the second result was "St. Vincent Episcopal School". The url is
http://www.sves.org/
What's the "e" for?
Following the link you read "St. Vincent's School Educating Mind, Body and Spirit in the Anglican Tradition
A preschool through eighth grade school in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth ... Accredited by the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools."

Perhaps Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools has no business accrediting a non Episcopal school. Or if it does it should inquire why SVS has this discriminatory policy.

Lastly, I picked up this tidbit at Stand Firm: "The reporters made a mistake about our name. We abandoned the word “Episcopal” from our school name back in 2003! We are St. Vincent’s School. No misrepresentation was intended. Simply inaccurate reporting! (For the moment we still have the words “St. Vincent’s Episcopal Cathedral Church” on the sign in front of the church building, but it will be changed as soon as funds can be raised."

If you look at the complex pictured at the website it's hard to imagine why they're having trouble raising funds. And you have to wonder why the shield on the website looks so much like the Episcopal Church shield.

It's a stretch to blame name issue on reporters.

St. Vincent Cathedral
http://stvc.org/
describes itself as "a warm, friendly, and active parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and associated with the Anglican Church in North America."

About the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools,
http://www.swaes.org/AboutSAES/about.htm
"Episcopal schools are characterized by their:

commitment to the centrality of excellence in teaching and of quality in learning
service to their own community and to their broader communities
belief in the values of respect and responsibility within the context of the Episcopal Church
belief in leadership and stewardship for service in the world, and
inclusivity and diversity that are foundational for educational excellence.
The National Association of Independent Schools has recognized the evaluation and accreditation programs of SAES since June, 1993."

The SAES does not recognize the Iker led breakaway diocese. It recognizes the Diocese of Fort recognized by the Episcopal Church. See,
http://www.swaes.org/AboutSAES/dioceses.htm

However, when you drill into link under member schools you see that the website there mistakenly links to the breakaway group. Follow,
http://www.swaes.org/AboutSAES/texasschools.htm
Also at the link SVS is still titled "St. Vincent's Episcopal School."

By my calculations SVS should not be accredited by the SAES. SAES's first condition for accreditation is "The School is affiliated with the Episcopal Church which is part of the Anglican communion" See
http://www.swaes.org/Resources/2005-2006%20Member%20Materials.doc
That document also states, "The school does not exclude students because of race, creed, national origin, or insofar as possible, economic status. The school makes every effort to provide financial aid and shall publish this information throughout the community." That is, discrimination according to the gender of the parents is not explicitly ruled out.

The bottom line: under its own rules the SAES should revoke SVS's membership status because SVS is not affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

Disgraceful.

It's this kind of thing, that again makes me desire non-violent direct action. Why don't we ACTUAL Episcopalians, just occupy the school---in the name of this ONE family would be grounds enough!--- and dare them to call the cops on us.

Yeah, yeah, yeah: I know. This is all winding through the courts, and we expect to win.

But how long, O Lord? How long, should FRAUD like this be perpetrated, and an innocent child (nevermind her innocent parents) pay the price?

JC Fisher
...feeling lamentation-ish.

"We don't provide services to individuals or families that do not behave properly."

Does this school exclude prospective students whose families have a history of prior divorce, adultery or cohabitation? Abuse of alcohol and drugs? Unethical business practices and cheating on taxes? Callous neglect of the poor, the widowed and the orphaned? Overeating in the commission of the sins of greed and gluttony? Habitual kicking of cats and dogs? If not, it's high-and-mighty claim of not catering to those who "behave improperly" simply isn't true.

Gregory Orloff

Gregory, I have taught in private religious schools, though not Episcopalian schools, and most have specific requirements for both the students and the families to follow in order to be in good standing. No drugs,alcohol, divorce, cohabitating, getting arrested for any reason... the lists are long and people who send their kids there sign agreements to them before or when the kids are registered. I'm not sure why this is surprising. Around here people send their kids to private schools to get away from the anarchy of public schools.
Around here, even some of the better public schools have "Parental Duties" listed in the handbook and require parents to sign and return statements from the school handbook saying they've read it and will do their part.

Chris Harwood

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