A Christian school in Kentucky has been accused of expelling a student after seeing a picture of the teen celebrating her 15th birthday with a rainbow cake and wearing a rainbow-striped shirt.
Kimberly Alford told ABC News she was informed of her daughter Kayla's expulsion from Whitefield Academy via an email on January 6. The photo of Kayla was attached.
According to the Washington Post, the academy's head of school Bruce Jacobson wrote: "The WA Administration has been made aware of a recent picture, posted on social media, which demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy's beliefs.
"We made it clear that any further promotion, celebration or any other action and attitudes counter to Whitefield's philosophy will not be tolerated."
The Louisville school denied Alford's appeal.
"When I called the head of the school to discuss it with him... he told me, 'Kim, the sweater, the cake, it just kind of represents gay pride'," Alford, a dental assistant, told ABC.
The principal allegedly told the mother she "should have refused" the cake for its LGBTQ+ connotations.
Alford suspects another parent sent the photo to the school after she shared it to her public Facebook. She clarified that although the cake and Kayla's sweater were misconstrued as "representing gay pride", her 15-year-old loves all people.
She also claimed she provided the school with her bakery receipt, which lists the cake's design as "assorted colours" based on Alford's request for a cake that "popped".
In a statement, Whitefield Academy said all parents who enrol their children in the private school "know up front that we ask the students to adhere to a lifestyle informed by our Christian beliefs".
The school also denied expelling Kayla "solely for a social media post", claiming she had violated the student code of conduct "numerous times" over the past two years.
"We wish our former student all the best as she finds a learning environment that is right for her," it said.
Alford admitted that her daughter has previously rebelled against the school's rules, including having an e-cigarette on campus and shaving the sides of her head.
The school's Facebook page has since been bombarded with outraged reviews, labelling the academy as "intolerant", "dangerous" and "despicable".
"It's not okay to expel kids based on homophobia beliefs and they have bigots on their staff. It's 2020, do better! Send your kids somewhere else, this place is dangerous for kids [sic]," one woman wrote.
"Shame on Whitefield - bigotry at its finest in this great country. Free your mind Whitefield! Teach love, not hate," said another.
"I don't want her to grow up thinking something [is] wrong with her just because she marches to the beat of her own drum," Alford said.