Principal That Throws Teen Out Over Birthday Photo Gets Unanticipated Backlash
She sat amid her family, a smile extended from ear to ear. “Blow them, honey!” her mom urged, all her friends nodding enthusiastically.
She looked into the camera and blew the candles on the multicolored cake. Little did she know such a harmless gesture would cost her her high school life.
Life In Louisville
Kayla Kennedy was a happy fourteen-year-old girl living in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family. She was your average teenager with unconditional love for friends and family.
Kayla lived a happy life. She always stayed true to herself regarding what she liked, and she was never afraid to be herself. She didn’t know how much her choices would affect her school life.
Kayla attended Whitefield Academy, a private school in her neighborhood. Since she was a child, Whitefield had always been on Kayla’s mind.
She’d been a part of the school for two years now, which was a dream come true. She’d expected to spend her entire high school journey here and was well on her way to fulfilling this wish. But something happened.
The beginning of the end started on one of Kayla’s favorite days. She’d just turned fifteen, and as was her family’s ritual for birthdays, they went out to celebrate.
As Kayla had always done since being young, she invited her close friends and extended family. Her mom made reservations at their favorite restaurant and requested a beautiful multicolored cake. But the festivities wouldn’t last for long.
Kayla saw her fifteenth birthday as another year of adventure, love, and powerful memories. She would usher in the day the best way she knew how.
She dressed in her favorite outfit, with a rainbow sweater to match the birthday cake. She rounded up her friends, and they went to the restaurant where everybody else was anxiously waiting.
A Birthday To Remember
Kayla’s birthday hit all the marks she expected it to hit. None of her friends and family failed to show up. The love and affection she received made her heart swell with joy.
Keen to freeze such a special moment in her daughter’s life, Kayla’s mom took a photo of the event and shared it on Facebook. She had no clue what this would do to Kayla’s school life.
The following week, Kayla received a notice from the school head, Dr. Jacobson. Seeing that the school had addressed the note to her mom, she brushed it off as a regular letter and hurried home.
But that night, her mom came into her room, asking Kayla if she’d read the notice. Her eyes were glossy with stemmed tears, and she held the crumpled letter in one fist. What was happening?
A Strong Man
Kayla rarely saw her mom shed tears. She knew this was serious. “What’s wrong, mom?” she asked, noticing that her mom was not sad but angry.
“I’ll be taking you to school tomorrow,” her mom said and left the room mumbling things to herself. What could’ve happened that ticked off her mom like that? Kayla needed to find out.
A Good Student
Kayla had always been an above-average student. She rarely got herself in trouble and generally stayed on everyone’s good graces. So why was her mom upset?
She stalked after her mom, keen to know what could tick her off like this. She found the note next to her mom’s purse on the kitchen island. She skimmed through it, and her heart skipped a beat.
The Contents Of The Notice
“An expulsion notice,” Kayla repeated for the fifth time. Her mouth grew dry, her eyes stinging with tears. Energy leached out of her body, and she stumbled back, but her mom caught her.
“Why?” she grated. “Why am I being expelled, mom?” Her mom didn’t answer. She wrapped her arms around Kayla and held her tight, promising she’d take care of everything.
The Wrath Of A Mother
The school was expelling Kayla because of the cake and sweater in her birthday photo. It insisted that Kayla presented herself in a light contrary to Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.
But Kayla’s mom wasn’t hearing any of it. To her, Kayla was a happy, expressive, respectful, and kind girl. She loved her daughter more than anything in this world and would fight for her till the end.
Fighting For Her Daughter
A woman in a suit visited Kayla’s home the next day. In her conversation with her mom, Kayla heard them talk about an invasion of privacy and defamation. Her mom was nodding keenly, but Kayla couldn’t understand what they talked about.
That night, her mom came into her room and explained everything. She was taking the school to court under several grounds, two of them being defamation and invasion of privacy. “This is war,” she said.
A Broken System
A wild back and forth ensued between the school and Kayla’s mom over the next week. It became clear that the school didn’t approve of homosexuality, which they linked to Kayla’s expulsion.
What pained Kayla’s mom the most was that the school singled out her daughter for expulsion. The school didn’t follow its disciplinary steps, jumping directly to the extreme measure. Would such a case hold in court?
Going To Court
Kayla’s mom took the school to court, but the case proved harder than she’d projected. The school insisted that its rules were in line with Kentucky laws.
The school also revealed that this wasn’t the first time they collided with Kayla. She’d been warned before regarding her lifestyle choices and how they didn’t align with the school’s values. So, did Kayla and her mom lose the case?
Sunshine Above The Storm
Kayla and her mom lost the case against Whitefield Academy. But the school changed the expulsion into a voluntary departure for Kayla, cleaning her record.
Although this experience was harrowing for Kayla, it helped her find her true self. It also showed her she could always count on her mom to stand by her through thick and thin.