Mom Says Daughter Was Expelled from Christian School Because 8-Year-Old Had a Crush on Girl

Jason Duaine Hahn
·3 min read

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An Oklahoma mother claims her 8-year-old daughter was expelled from a private Christian school last month after she revealed her crush on a female classmate.

Delanie Shelton told CNN that her daughter, Chloe, expressed her feelings to the girl while on the playground of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso last week. Rejoice Christian School did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

After the interaction, Shelton said the second-grader spent the next few hours in the principal's office, where the school's vice principal allegedly told her the Bible only allows marriage between a man and woman.

"The vice-principal asked me how do I feel like girls liking girls," Shelton recalled to FOX affiliate KOKI-TV. "I said, 'If we're being honest, I think it's okay for girls to like girls' and she looked shocked and appalled."

According to NBC News, Shelton said she was told to take Chloe home and not to come to school the following day.

"[Chloe] was crying and just asking me if God still loved her, and, you know, if she was wrong for feeling the way that she does," Shelton told the news station.

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The day after, Shelton said she received a call from Rejoice Superintendent Joel Pepin. It was during the call that Pepin allegedly told the family that Chloe and her 5-year-old brother, Oliver, would no longer be welcome at the school due to their beliefs, Shelton told NBC News.

In a statement sent by Pepin to NBC News he said would not be commenting on the controversy.

"Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school's policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family," Pepin said in the statement on Jan. 28.

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Shelton said she hasn't spoken to school officials since the expulsion.

"You know, a school that's supposed to be teaching specifically God's love and grace and forgiveness, and no matter what, to make an 8-year-old question if God loves her is just not OK," Shelton said.

"They weren't willing to speak with me, I guess, about anything," she added. "Just kicked my kids out after four years of going there, and we went to their church and Chloe did basketball and cheer for them, so it was like a huge part of our life. It was more than just school."

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After news of the expulsion spread amongst the community, many residents showed their support for the family. According to KJRH, hundreds of people came out to rally around Chloe last weekend by holding signs, honking horns and displaying rainbow flags.

"She feels so much love and support surrounding her," Shelton told the station.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family — it has raised nearly $3,000 as of Wednesday night.