- ‘If another queer kid comes out, I’m scared for them.’
The headteacher of a Christian school in October has expelled an ‘exceptional’ straight-A student because he is gay.
Devin Bryant, 17, was just about to begin his senior year at Covenant Christian Academy in Colleyville, Texas. But new headmaster Tony Jeffrey gave his mother Consolata a call saying Devin was no longer welcome.
The teen had come out via an Instagram post on his birthday in October last year. At the time he got a good reaction.
‘People said they are there for me. They were proud of me for making the decision to come out.’
Indeed, even some of the teachers said they supported him, despite their Christian faith. And there was no official reaction from the school.
‘I think they were ignoring it,’ he said. ‘People in the administration knew.’
But 10 months later, in mid August, that suddenly changed. The new headmaster Tony Jeffrey called Devin’s mom Consolata and said he couldn’t complete his final year at the academy.
She asked him: ‘Are you a Christian? Jesus would not do what you are doing.’
But Jeffrey responded: ‘I’m doing what Jesus would want me to do.’
‘Gay Person Parking Only’
Consolata admits she signed the academy’s student code of conduct, which forbids homosexuality, drugs and ‘fornication’ in its small print.
But the family has had kids in the Covenant Christian Academy for almost two decades. And Devin himself joined pre-kindergarten.
Indeed, the first sign they may have any problems with Devin remaining came just two days earlier.
He had finished the previous semester with straight-A grades. And over the summer he planned and posted the design for his parking spot on the school campus – a tradition for seniors.
His design read: ‘Super Hot, Fun, Attractive, Fast-driving, Insane, Very Smart, Outgoing, Party Freak, Young, Gay (as in happy don’t worry lol), Pretty, Reckless, Humble, Pyromaniac, Fun, Gay (as in homosexual this time, sorry) Person Parking Only.’
And he was proud of the funny ‘brash’ design. But when Consolata went to pay for his parking spot, school administrators told her Devin’s design was unacceptable. And they added they didn’t want to hear the word ‘gay’ again.
Two days later, the family got the call.
The academy has declined to comment on the case.
However, on Monday (31 August), Jeffrey sent a letter to current parents, alumni and school faculty praising the teen.
In it he said Devin was ‘a popular, well-behaved student, talented artist and gifted athlete who has made significant contributions to our program during his tenure here’. He even added he was an ‘exceptional student’.
But Jeffrey insisted the academy’s ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ said sex could only be between a married man and woman.
‘I don’t have any hate or hold a grudge’
Fortunately for Devin, his family are comfortable with his sexuality. And he has proved his teachers – who described him as ‘such a nice guy’ – right in the way he’s responded.
He has started his senior year at a public high school. And he hopes to get high scores on his AP exams before applying to Rutgers or UCLA next year.
Meanwhile his first thought is for other LGBT+ students at his former alma mater. He hopes what happened to him will get the academy to address LGBT+ students more positively:
‘They don’t talk about it in a way that gives LGBTQ kids any hope in their relationship with Christ. I want to call people to a higher standard than I’ve seen.’
And he added: ‘If another queer kid comes out [at the academy], I’m scared for them.’
But he added: ‘I have relationships with teachers [there that] I’ll always cherish. They’re genuinely good people who love and accept me. I don’t have any hate or hold a grudge. I know I’ll end up fine.’