Do journalists and news outlets have a responsibility to include information about an institution’s extremist discriminatory policies when writing about them?
I think so.
And I think it’s doubly important when news outlets write on schools that have extremist, discriminate policies.
But in Charlotte, while one puff piece about a local Christian school heaped plenty of praise on the school’s new LEGO learning lab, it didn’t pause even a slight moment to inform readers — and parents of potential students — of the school’s dangerous anti-LGBT policies.
The Charlotte Observer‘s Lake Norman News wrote about SouthLake Christian Academy’s new LEGO learning lab on Dec. 20. It sounds like a great program, and there’s nothing but glowing positives included in the article.
“The greatest thing about this program is that it facilitates learning for every child,” Sarah Beam, SouthLake’s assistant principal and LEGO lab teacher, told the Observer.
Every child, that is, except the LGBT ones.
Or straight students with LGBT parents, siblings, cousins, some other relatives or friends.
Or LGBT or straight students who speak out in favor of treating LGBT people with full equality and dignity.
Or even students who have siblings, parents, relatives or friends who have taken some sort of outspoken public stand on LGBT equality.
Really, any student in any way, even slightly or peripherally, connected to some kind of pro-LGBT stance or person who refuses to call themselves “immoral” due solely to their sexual orientation.
“SLCA’s biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christlike. On occasion, the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home may be counter or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, sexual immorality, homosexual sexual orientation, or inability to support the moral principles of the school. In such cases, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student.”
The middle and upper school handbooks also include this additional policy:
“The biblical and philosophical goal of SLCA is to develop students into mature, Christ-like individuals who will be able to exhibit a Christ-like life. Of necessity, this involves the school’s understanding and belief of what qualities or characteristics exemplify a Christ-like life. Even though parents may personally believe differently, while enrolled at SLCA, all students are expected to exhibit the qualities of the Christ-like life espoused and taught by the school and to refrain from certain activities or behavior. Thus, SLCA retains the right to refuse enrollment to or to expel any student who engages in biblical sexual immorality, including, but not limited to, any student who professes to be homosexual/bisexual or is a practicing homosexual/bisexual, as well as any student who condones, supports, or otherwise promotes such practices (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27).”
These policies are extreme.
The damage these policies can cause to young people is immense.
These policies and the doctrines that underpin them are abusive — emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
And when institutions like SouthLake so gleefully, openly, proudly and unapologetically cling to such dangerous anti-LGBT bigotry targeted squarely toward children and youth, then media should disclose this information to the public instead of writing some laudatory puff piece that allows the school to say they’re educating “every child” when it’s so very clear they’re doing exactly the opposite.
P.S. — SouthLake Christian Academy is among the hundreds of private schools in line for possible taxpayer dollars through the state’s still-pending private school voucher scheme.