The issue of taxpayer funds going to religious private schools has been in the news a lot recently, but one important component that doesn’t get as much coverage is whether or not those schools discriminate against students and staff in ways that would be unconstitutional at a public school.

One of the schools involved in the ongoing lawsuit – Bangor Christian School – states in its handbook (bangorchristian.com/handbook) that marriage is only between one man and one woman and that “any other type of sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are sinful perversions of and contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity.”

Further, “We believe that God designs each individual in his or her mother’s womb. … Any deviation from the sexual identity that God created will not be accepted.” The dress code requires students to “wear clothing traditionally associated with his or her birth gender.”

The list of behavioral offenses that lead to suspension and expulsion includes things like using alcohol or illegal drugs, stealing and “presenting oneself as a gender other than the one included on his or her birth certificate.”

A public school would never be allowed to discriminate against transgender, nonbinary and non-heterosexual students and staff like Bangor Christian does. A private school should not expect to receive public funds if they cannot adhere to the same basic human rights protections.

Scott Harriman

Class of 2003, Bangor Christian School

Lewiston


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