The parents of a Louisville, Ky., high school student who was allegedly expelled from a Christian school over a photo posted on social media are now reportedly suing the private academy, claiming the school invaded their daughter’s privacy and inflicted emotional distress.
Filed on Thursday, the family's lawsuit accuses Whitefield Academy in Louisville of expelling Kayla Kenney (K.K.) over her perceived sexuality after a picture of her wearing a rainbow sweater and posing with a rainbow birthday cake was shared on Facebook.
“Essentially, the school expelled K.K. because they believed that K.K. was gay. As such, in Whitefield’s view, it would be difficult to ‘achieve the goal of [K.K.] becoming Christ-like,’” the suit states, NBC News reported. "In so doing, Whitefield invaded K.K.’s privacy, defamed K.K., breached its contract with K.K.’s parents Kimberly Alford and Mike Kenney, and inflicted serious emotional distress on K.K."
Kenney’s mother, Kimberly Alford, spoke out previously, insisting the cake was not a statement about orientation (rainbows are often used as a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community) and that her daughter wasn’t gay.
"All parents who enroll their children in our private school know up front that we ask the students to adhere to a lifestyle informed by our Christian beliefs."
“The receipt for the cake purchased, for her birthday, validates that it was requested to be a floral assortment of different colors. Nothing specific was requested and no statement was made to imply anything other than colorful,” Alford said in a letter previously shared with Fox News, appealing the school's decision.
The school has previously denied the allegations that Kenney was expelled “solely for a social media post” and insists the student committed violations of the student code of conduct “numerous times over the past two years.”
“In the fall, we met with the student to give her a final chance to begin to adhere to our code of conduct. Unfortunately, she did not live up to the agreement, and therefore, has been expelled,” the statement to Fox News read.
“Whitefield Academy is a Christian-based school with a 43-year history of educating students in a learning environment informed by our shared Christian values. All parents who enroll their children in our private school know up front that we ask the students to adhere to a lifestyle informed by our Christian beliefs.”
The school did not explicitly state what the “numerous” violations were, or whether they occurred on campus or outside of the school. According to Whitefield Academy’s Code of Conduct, students can be punished for “lifestyle violations” that happen off-campus. However, in an interview with NBC News, Alford claims the previous incidents were for “behavioral issues,” including cutting class and vaping. However, she maintains that the school’s decision to remove her daughter was due to the school believing Kenney was gay, citing a book, “Gay Girl, Good God,” which was reportedly given to the high school student by a guidance counselor after the photos were shared.
Before filing the suit, Alford tried to appeal the school’s decision, she told Fox News. The school denied the appeal.
Whitefield Academy and Kimberly Alford were not immediately available for further comment.