She Got Expelled From High School Over a Photo

Kayla Kenney was a 15-year-old girl who attended a private school called Whitefield Academy in Louisville Kentucky. Kayla was just a regular girl until she got expelled from Whitefield Academy over a photo that was posted online.

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The teenager had never got in trouble before and had been a good student. When Kayla was expelled, it shocked not just her family but the community. Kayla was determined to find out why she was being expelled over a photo her mother posted on Facebook.

The Importance of Family

The Kenney’s were a close family unit with a good bond and enjoyed spending time together. Kayla was a happy teenager who had an active social life. Kayla, being a sociable teen, enjoyed spending as much time as she could with her family and friends.

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Kayla was an active teenager who had a passion for athletics and would get involved in as many activities as she possibly could. She was supported with all her interests and encouraged in pursuing her dreams by her loving family

Let the Birthday Celebrations Begin

It wasn’t long until Kayla had an important birthday coming up and she naturally was looking forward to celebrating it; The perfect birthday dream of celebrating with her friends and family with cake, fun, and excitement turned into a nightmare.

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What Kayla and her family didn’t realize was that the party would result in unexpected consequences for Kayla, and she didn’t know that her life was about to be turned upside down over an innocent photo that was taken during the birthday celebrations.

The Perfect Cake for a Teenage Girl

The highlight of every party is the cake, and the birthday girl would not only get cake, but it would be a beautiful custom-made one. Kayla had requested that one of her favorite cakes be made by a professional baker with her choice of decorations and frosting.

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Kayla listed off what she wanted her cake to look like. She wanted a cake with delicious frosting and the cake was to have a mix of “assorted colors” on it. When the cake was ready, it was everything she had wished for, and she was delighted with how it looked.

The Photo that Changed Her Life

The party was a success and Kayla enjoyed every moment of her 15th birthday celebration, having fun with her friends and family. As any other teenager would, Kayla took photos of herself with family and friends to mark the special occasion.

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The moment that changed everything was an innocent photo. Kayla’s mom Kimberly was so proud of Kayla and decided to post a picture of her teenage daughter online. It was a photo she had taken at the party. It was of Kayla smiling happily beside her beautiful birthday cake wearing a themed rainbow sweater.

The Backlash from the Photo

The photo that was innocently posted by a loving mother would set in motion a chain of events that nobody would have expected. The family was contacted by the head of the school, Dr. Bruce Jacobson about the photo that Kayla’s mother Kimberly had posted online.

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Dr. Bruce Jacobson informed the family that Kayla was being expelled from the school, which confused and shocked her family as she was a good student, who rarely got in any kind of trouble in or out of school. Kayla was distraught and didn’t understand why this was happening to her.

Representing the Pride Flag

It wasn’t long into the conversation that it was made clear why Kayla was being expelled from the private Christian school, not because of her behavior, but it was because of what the school thought she was representing in the photo that had been posted online.

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The reason why Kayla was being kicked out of the school she loved was because the administrators, including Jacobson, believed the cake and the sweater Kayla wore in the photo represented her alliance with the LGBTQ pride movement.

Everybody Likes Rainbows

When Kayla realized why she was being expelled from school she was shocked because she hadn’t intended any meaning behind her cake or sweater, she was just a teenage girl who wanted a cake with assorted colors on it and who happened to wear a sweater to match.

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Kayla and her mom denied it was related to the pride flag in any way, with mom Kimberly saying, “I just feel like it’s a label (Whitefield Academy) have put on her. Just because I’m wearing a rainbow doesn’t mean I’m gay”.

The Schools Controversial Rules

Whitefield Academies’ controversial code of conduct contained inequalities and the rules were questionable, to say the least. What authority the school had was debatable when it came to what its students believed in or wore off campus, and the rules were a matter of discussion in the community.

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The Whitefield Academy had strict and unrelenting guidelines written into its code of conduct. When it came down to it, was a rainbow-themed cake or sweater were included in the rules. Did the school have a reasonably valid reason to expel a student who didn’t intentionally break any guidelines?

The Biblical Lifestyle at Whitefield Academy

The school’s code of conduct proclaims that it does have the right to expel students if their lifestyles are not in line with the religious beliefs of the school. Did a birthday party challenge the religious rules with something as innocent as a rainbow cake for a teenager’s birthday?

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The school’s rules state, “home environment is not in harmony with the school’s doctrinal relief in the centrality of Jesus Christ and the authority of the scripture and bible lifestyle,” which they believed a rainbow to be in breach of their regulations and they could expel Kayla.

The Interpretations of the Guidelines

The previous statement could be interpreted in several different ways. The guidelines state specifically what they believed to be violations of the code of conduct at Whitefield Academy. They felt justified in their expelling of Kayla as in their opinion, it did break the rules of the school’s religious beliefs.

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They believed people who displayed homosexual conduct and sexual orientation violated the school’s policy. The school believed that by wearing a rainbow sweater and having a rainbow-themed cake, Kayla was identifying as homosexual.

Refusing To Back Down

Despite the objections from Kayla and her family that this was simply not true, and the reason why she picked a rainbow-themed cake was just that she liked different colors, the school still did not back down from their decision and didn’t accept Kayla explanation.

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The Whitefield Academy has not changed its decision to kick a teenager out of their school over a birthday cake. The school maintains that the decision was the right one and Kayla would remain expelled from their school.

Not the Only Reason

The school has stated that the picture portrayed by Kayla and her family was not the only reason for the expulsion and it was not just over a cake and sweater, as formerly claimed by the Kenneys.

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The head of the school Dr. Bruce Jacobson called the reports about the situation “inaccurate” and explained that Kayla had a lengthy history of violating the code of conduct at the school and they reached their decision to expel based on more than one incident.

What Happened in October

What Jacobson was referring to was one other incident that had taken place in October and had already been dealt with by the school, or so the Kenneys thought. Kayla had received an infraction and thought that incident was now well behind her.

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The one other incident that Jacobson was referring to was when a Juul Pod was discovered in Kayla’s backpack. The school claimed that this incident had contributed to the recent expulsion even though Kayla had already received a fraction previously.

The Code of Conduct was Violated

The school stood by its decision and believed the photo taken at the birthday by Kayla’s mother Kimberly, was an indication of an immoral life and constituted “lifestyle violations” which was contrary to the Christian belief system of Whitefield Academy.

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The reason they gave for expelling Kayla was that her birthday photo “demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs,” That was the official reason given for the expulsion of Kayla to her family by the Whitefield Academy.

Forced to Find Another School

Kayla and her family had lost the battle against the school and what they felt was an injustice. Kayla had attended the school for two years, a lifetime for a teenager, and would have to start over again. It was difficult for the young girl to comprehend how a photo could change her life so quickly.

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Kayla would have to find a new high school and explain why she was expelled, which was a daunting task ahead for her and her family. Having a record of expulsion would make it even more difficult to be accepted into another high school and make new friends.

There was a Silver Lining

There was one silver lining that would make the transition a little bit smoother for the Kenney’s. Fortunately for Kayla, the school had compromised on one aspect that would make the challenge of finding a new school that little bit easier.

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The Whitefield Academy had agreed that the official record would list the reason for Kayla leaving the schools as a “voluntary departure.” This was a relief for Kayla and her family because it meant it wouldn’t go on her permanent record.

A Resilient Young Woman

Considering the circumstances and everything Kayla went through; she had coped well and was still in a good state of mind. Her mother Kimberly has reported that Kayla is adjusting well and is a very resilient young woman.

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Kimberly went on to say that Kayla had a mix of emotions and sometimes she “seems stressed and overwhelmed at times.” Understandably, starting over can be difficult for anyone but starting over as a teenager is especially challenging.

“Do Not Judge or You Too Will Be Judged”

Kimberly also had some opinions and reflections on the behavior of Whitefield Academy and how they treated her daughter. “I just feel like those religious beliefs they are imposing now are very judgemental,” she said.

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On reflection, Kimberly is thankful that Kayla is no longer exposed to such a judgemental environment. Relieved that Kayla no longer attends the school, Kimberly said, “that’s not what I wanted for her”. She wanted her daughter to not feel judged over something as simple as a cake.

Not Alone in Fighting Back

Kimberly and Kayla had decided to fight back and seek justice against how the school treated Kayla. They felt the school reacted unfairly over a photo that they assumed had a hidden meaning. The United duo has decided to stand up against the school and its code of conduct.

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The Kenneys wanted to make a stand and decided to proceed with a lawsuit against the Whitefield Academy for violating its disciplinary code. Whitefield Academy is still refusing to back down on the matter. Kayla isn’t alone in the fight and has her mother and family by her side.

The Twins Online Identity

Nowadays it’s common to post everything about your life online. Like Kayla, two other teenagers enjoyed social media. Austin and Aaron Rhodes enjoyed documenting and sharing their life through photos and videos that they posted online.

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The brothers were in fact twins, who shared almost everything. Both had an interest in vlogging and recording what was happening in their daily lives, sharing their daily ups and downs with their loyal followers.

The Twins Loved Vlogging

The twins are both passionate vloggers on YouTube, sharing their lives and what adventures they would get up to with their audience. The twins had a love for life and enjoyed sharing exciting and fun things they were doing.

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These videos were usually few-minute clips that they posted online. The twins enjoyed doing the vlogging together, editing together, and sharing their daily lives. They also had secrets they were keeping together, from their audience and their dad.

Only One Person Knew

Aaron and Austin’s mother was a supportive and loving mom, and she had a close relationship with the boys. They had confided in her a secret that they both had been keeping, and she was the only other person who knew what they were hiding.

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The family had agreed to keep the secret between themselves and not share it with the boy’s father until Austin and Aaron were ready too. The reason the twins hadn’t confided in their father was that they were afraid they would lose him when they revealed the secret.

Hiding The Truth

The twins continued as they always had, hiding the truth about who they were. They shared every detail about themselves online except one of the most important aspects of who they were. They couldn’t share it with their audience like they wanted to.

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They wanted to share the secret with their followers on their YouTube channel but first, they needed to tell an important person about the secret they were hiding. They were keeping the secret from their dad because they were worried about how he would react, but it was time to tell him.

Let’s Call Dad First

The twins wanted to be open and the only way they could achieve this with everybody was to tell their father the truth first. The twins thought it might be a good idea to tell the audience at the same time. They were going to vlog their phone call with their dad.

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The decision to film the phone call was a big one and they were nervous about how their dad would react. They were worried he would be disappointed, that he might not be accepting, and they prepared themselves for what could happen during the call.

Best Friends from the Beginning

The twin brothers had always been extremely close and from the moment they were born they were best friends. They enjoyed spending all their time together and hanging out whenever they could. Naturally, Aaron wanted to share something important with his brother.

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Long before they started their channel Aaron had shared his secret with Austin. One day after work when they were just chilling, Aaron blurted out “I’m gay,” and waited for Austin to respond but Austin was floored at what he just heard from his brother.

You Won’t Believe It

The reason he was so shocked, was because he had a secret too. “I’m the same way,” he responded to his brother. The shared experience brought them closer together, and they had each other for support and to talk it through with.

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After years of keeping their true selves from the world, they wanted to share who they were with everyone they loved. The truth would come out but first, they had to let their dad know so he wouldn’t be blindsided by the video they would make.

The Twins Reveal a Secret

The brothers decided it was time to make a video about their secret so that they could share whom they truly wore with the world. The video mentioned included their dad and how they were going to share their experiences with telling a parent they were gay.

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The twins uploaded a video titled “Twins come out to dad” which was online for everyone to see. The video was a serious one with Aaron and Austin facing the camera and talking. “We want to come back as authentic as possible; we just want to give you guys everything and say everything we want to say”

The Hardest Phone Call

Aaron turned to the camera and said, “I’m gay.” It was then Austin’s turn to tell his truth. Austin faced the camera and said, “And I’m gay, too.” They had finally shared who they were on YouTube, but the next step was to make a call, a call to their dad.

Source: NBC

The twins were scared, this was the hardest call they would ever have to make. They feared their dad’s reaction would devastate them. Everybody had been waiting for them to make this call and they were finally about to do it.

Pick Up the Phone

The video captures the moment the twins called their dad, the nervous energy of the twins is visible through the screen. The moment that they have been waiting for, nervous energy building within them, they were finally going to tell their dad

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The phone rang and their father answered. The twins were suddenly aware of the momentous decision to tell their dad about their secret on video. Their eyes welled with tears as they paused. The emotional moment had left them lost for words.

An Emotional Conversation

Finally, Aaron broke the tense silence and spluttered, “I mean, I don’t really know how else to put it. Uh, I’m gay, and, um Austin is, too. We just wanted to, like, call and tell you.” Aaron had begun to cry as he waited for his father’s reaction to the news.

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The words hung heavily in the air, the silence was loud and only interrupted by the quiet sobs of the twins. Tensely waiting for their father to respond, their sobs were a mixture of relief and fear. What would he say, and would he be disappointed in them?

It Would be Okay

The pause felt like an eternity but Mr, Rhodes finally responded. “Okay”. Austin’s heart filled with anxiety as he continued talking, “I just don’t want you to, like, not love us or anything like that.” The vulnerability in his voice was painful and he just wanted to be reassured, both twins did.

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Austin didn’t get to finish his sentence before his father interrupted. Mr. Rhodes assured them that he loved them both regardless. The noticeable relief flowed over both twin’s faces as they listened to their father and how supportive he was being.

One Fathers Unconditional Love

“Oh stop it,” Mr. Rhodes said whilst gently interrupting them. “You know I love you both. That will never change. You’ve gotta live your lives. You’ve gotta do what you gotta do”. Their father’s reaction was better than they had ever envisioned.

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The weight of the secret they carried was now gone, their father’s reaction hadn’t devastated the twins, instead, their father had reassured and supported them. Austin told his father that he didn’t want this information to change their “normal” relationship.

Advice From a Wise Father

Their father was quick to respond to what Austin had just said: “What do you mean?” His father continued with some sound advice and encouragement, “You’re living your lives, and that’s all you can do in life. Just live it.”

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The video had over 27 million views, and not surprisingly, because the heart-warming and touching moment was incredible to watch. Although the views were an amazing accomplishment, the real reward was not about the views.

A Weight had been Lifted

The twins felt so relieved that they had come out to their viewers and their dad and it had been met with such positivity. Aaron continued by saying, “I literally feel like ten million pounds have, like, been lifted off my shoulders”.

Source: Instagram /@rhodesaustin

After Aaron had hung up with his father, the twins could finally process what had happened and how well it went. Not surprisingly, their touching video went viral on YouTube, and it had gained the attention of a celebrity talk show host.

Ellen DeGeneres Talk Show

Aaron and Austin, alongside their father, had been invited to appear on celebrity Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. They would soon be sitting on the couch with their father across from the celebrity host which was aired to millions of viewers.

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The twins and their father would sit on the couch opposite to Ellen to talk about the phone call. The surreal moment was because Ellen was in awe of Mr. Rhodes’s reaction to the twin’s announcement. Ellen said that more dads should be like him, loving and accepting of their children no matter what.

An Extremely Proud Father

The twin’s father explained to Ellen how his sons could come to him and talk about anything in their lives openly with him. Mr. Rhodes said “They can come to me with anything in their lives. I’m very proud of my boys.”

Source: Warner Bros.

The boy’s father had pleasantly surprised everyone with his open and loving acceptance of his children. He wasn’t the only one who had a surprise for the twins though. Ellen was famous for her generosity as a host, and she had one last surprise for the boys.

The Twins Big Surprise

Ellen was so impressed with Aaron and Austin that she decided to generously give them a gift. The emotional episode had everyone in tears by the end of the show. The twins were shocked by what Ellen had for them.

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Ellen had surprised them with a whopping $10.000 check. She presented the check to Aaron and Austin in front of their dad and the audience. Ellen explained that she had awarded them the money to help them get started with their lives and to follow their dreams.