For over three years, the Denny family has been welcomed by the teachers and staff of Chesapeake’s Deep Creek Academy’s preschool. The school offered them a convenient, high quality, and affordable facility where their child could learn and grow with friends from their neighborhood.
That all came to an end last week when they were informed of a new policy that they feel targets their family.
Kelsea Denny (who transitioned from male to female this past year) received a re-enrollment letter from the Deep Creek Baptist Church, which houses and runs the preschool. She was alarmed by language in the letter that included a “Statement of Faith and Practice” and a new enrollment agreement policy. The letter included homophobic and transphobic views on same-sex marriage and gender expression that all parents of enrollees must sign as part of the application process.
The new language included includes the following:
“We are welcoming to all people and we affirm the Biblical and traditional definition of marriage being of one man to one woman and a Biblical and traditional understanding of gender identity.
“Deep Creek Academy (DCA) is a Christian school, and a ministry of Deep Creek Baptist Church (DCBC). Our teachers, students, and families are expected to conduct themselves in a manner in accordance with the faith statement and Christian values of DCA, DCBC, and its leadership. We reserve the right to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student.”
This change in policy did not take the Denny family by surprise. The Director of the school forewarned the family that an updated policy was under discussion. According to Ms. Denny, the director of the school advocated against the policy and ultimately resigned her position in protest. The new policy still came as a surprise to Ms. Denny since school teachers and leadership had been open and supportive during her transition.
“The (former) Director even mentioned that she did not receive any complaints about me at all from other parents or even the teachers,” said Denny. “I was appalled at first. I knew it was coming, but I did not think they would be so black and white about it.”
“I feel they have never really met someone like me, and a lot of this is what they don’t know,” she said.
As Denny understands it, the new policy will not be implemented until the start of the next school term that begins in August 2019. Currently, her child is a student at DCA. However under the new policy, Ms. Denny would not be allowed to either drop off or pick up her child since that requires her to enter the building and sign the child in and out, in effect banning her from the school’s campus.
As a result, they are currently looking for another preschool in the area and are unsure how DCA will enforce this new policy dictated by leadership of DCBC.
“Its most disappointing because our child had established a comfort level with her teachers and administrators,” she said.
Currently, churches and private educational institutions are allowed to make and enforce these types of policies and rules for students and parents. DCA’s policy is similar to Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia where Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence teaches art twice a week.
OutWire757 has reached out to DCA and DCBC for comment. As of this writing, they have not responded.