Christian school defends LGBT discrimination claims in voucher funding debate

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An American private school that receives taxpayer funding is coming under fire after claims that it has discriminatory policies towards LGBT students.

The Lighthouse Christian Academy in the city of Bloomington in Indiana says in its admissions brochure that it reserves the right to deny admission to LGBT students because their lifestyle is prohibited by the Bible.

Lighthouse Christian Academy, Bloomington, Indiana
Lighthouse Christian Academy, Bloomington, Indiana (Facebook/Lighthouse Christian Academy)

This has become a talking point across the states after a heated debate last month as to whether schools that receive money from taxpayer-funded vouchers should be able to discriminate against certain groups of students including LGBT and students with disabilities.

The academy currently receives funding from taxpayer-funded vouchers under the ‘school choice’ programme in America.

‘School choice’ allows public education funds follow students to schools or services that their parents think are best for them.

Parents can choose to enrol their children in public, private and charter schools and even home school using the ‘vouchers’ to pay for the education costs.

Trumps administration looking at taxpayer-funded vouchers as a way to expand ‘school choice’ but there is no clear plan in place.

Lighthouse has over 300 students, half of them receive vouchers to help pay annual tuition ranging from $4,500 to $6,000 depending on a student’s grade.

This year the academy has received over $665,000 in state funds to enrol 152 students.

Lighthouse officials claim they have never turned anyone away based on their sexual orientation.

However, at a congressional hearing Senate Democrats referred to the Academy as a school that does discriminate against LGBT students.

A brochure from the academy says that the Bible does not allow homosexual, bisexual or “any form of sexual immorality.”

If a student’s “home life” violates biblical rules, the school can deny them admission or expel them.

Lighthouse was founded by a group of families in the early 1990’s by a group of families who wanted an affordable Christian education for their children.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia president of the National Education Association, Americas largest teacher’s union said Trump’s administrations’ attempt to fund private schools takes money away from public schools where discrimination is not allowed.

Indiana is one of 30 states that use public money for ‘school choice’ programs.

In a study by Professor Suzanne Eckes from Indiana University, it was found that none of the states with voucher programs prohibits discrimination against members of the LGBT community.