Teacher claims school suspended her son for being gay

Updated
Headmaster Joseph Sanelli.
Headmaster Joseph Sanelli.
Covenant Christian Academy

A teacher from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has filed a lawsuit against the Covenant Christian Academy claiming the administration suspended her son for being gay.

Sharon Wright filed a 30-page complaint saying the school then “fired her for not forcing [her son] to renounce the ‘sin’.” Huffington Post reports.

Wright claims that after the high school senior announced his sexual orientation on a blog, school Headmaster Joseph Sanelli told the family their son should remain at home until a meeting could be arranged.

During the meeting with Sanelli and other administrators, Wright claims she was told her son would be “permanently suspended from school” until he “renounced his sin.” Furthermore, the plaintiff claims Rich Raynor, a school board member, lashed out and said there was something wrong with the high school student.

“Your son is broken,” Raynor said, according to the complaint. “And it’s your job to fix him.”

According to Wright, her son announced his sexual orientation on a blog on Oct. 12, 2009, the Courthouse News reports, and then the school “took steps to immediately suspend him from school.” The complaint says that Raynor’s wife, Leslie, told Wright that this was a “battle for [your son’s] soul.”

Wright then claims that after consulting several “psychiatric, psychological and pediatric professionals,” she and her husband had concluded that “their son’s sexual orientation was already determined, that it would be  potentially harmful to try to ‘reprogram’ him, that they had decided their best course of action was to support him and love him for who he is, and that they could not agree that homosexuality is a sin.”

According to the complaint, Sanelli sent Wright a letter that said her “support of her son in no way affects the employment of Sharon here at CCA or the enrollment of [her son]. We support Sharon and consider her a valuable member of the faculty.”

Despite the letter from Sanelli, Wright claims she was harassed for the remainder of the school year, which eventually led her to develop anxiety and depression. According to the complaint, when Wright requested medical leave to seek treatment, she was told to take “a year to heal” and then denied contract renewal.

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Teacher claims school suspended her son for being gay

Updated