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Report: Woodstock School That Bans Homosexuality Receives State Dollars

Schools that "exclude, condemn, and demonize students for who they are and who they accept in their lives" should not receive public funds, according to a report from an Atlanta education policy group.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Patch has reached out to Cherokee Christian Schools and is waiting to hear back from the administration. 

Some scholarship money generated through a Georgia tax credit program has been used at religious schools that ban gay, lesbian and bisexual students, according to a report released late last month.

One school in the report from the Southern Education Foundation, an Atlanta education policy group, is in Woodstock.

At Cherokee Christian Schools, the Parent/Student Handbook for the 2012-13 school year states: 

"In accordance with the Statement of Faith and in recognition of Biblical principles, no “immoral act” or “identifying statements” concerning fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, or pornography, will be tolerated," the policy states. "Such behavior will constitute grounds for expulsion."

The Southern Education Foundation does not take issue with the policies of schools such as Cherokee Christian School. They have a constitutional right to believe whatever they want to believe and to operate their private affairs in accordance with those beliefs, the foundation said.

But schools that "exclude, condemn, and demonize students for who they are and who they accept in their lives" should not receive public funds, the foundation wrote in its report. "Tax dollars should go to schools that educate all students. That is the promise and virtue of our democracy."

Legislators in 2008 established a tax credit program to allow individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to qualified student scholarship organizations and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit against their Georgia income tax liabilities. SSOs provide the funds to private schools for all or part of a student’s tuition.

While the amounts awarded to each school are unknown, more than $170 million in taxpayer funds have been set aside to cover the tuition costs of students in private schools during the last four years.

And the Southern Education Foundation knows of at least 115 private schools in the tax credit scholarship program that have severe anti-gay policies or belong to state and national private school associations that promote anti-gay policies, according to the report.

"Altogether, as much as one-third of all private schools participating in Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program may be governed by the schools’ explicit anti-gay policies or their church’s anti-gay statements of faith," according to the report.

And that count, according to the report, is likely an understatement.

Click here to read the full report from the Southern Education Foundation. It is also attached to this article as a PDF.

Tell us: should public money be used to assist needy families who want to send their children to private schools with explicit anti-gay policies? 

No More Bullies February 05, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I meant to (say) type "already in private school".
Frank Jones February 05, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Aww Now...I'm wondering what you mean by "it was a liberal congress that allowed this to continue". The SSO law is Georgia based, not Federal. I have to believe you're not referring to the Gold Dome as a liberal congress.
Robert February 11, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Let me get this straight. I am allowed to reduce my tax liability by making a monetary contribution to an SSO. So, rather than paying that $ in taxes, I am donating it elsewhere. The $ is not paid as "taxes." However, since I prevented that $ from being paid in "taxes," you (author of this article) are claiming that tax $ has been paid to Cherokee Christian School? This is what is wrong with our country. We have numbed our collective mind from being able to think logically. If my giving money to a charitable organization that reduces my tax liability equals "tax dollars being paid to said charitable organization" then you are of the mindset that the government owns all of my income. And if you wish to split hairs by pointing out there is a difference between receiving a "tax credit" under an SSO, and a "reduction in taxable income" which is what one receives when making a donation to one's church, then you are also of the mindset that the government own all of my income. There are countless ways to reduce one's tax liability. Take for instance the interest you pay on your mortgage. If you are claiming a mortgage interest deduction and the bank that holds your mortgage is a "Christian" run organization, or heaven forbid that Truett Cathey sits on its board, does that mean "tax" dollars are going to fund a Christian run bank? And I must say that I am disappointed in the fact that this article appears to be nothing more than a summary of a very agenda-driven report.
Retired Teacher February 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM
NO!
GA May 05, 2014 at 09:50 PM
Christian students should have a school to go to even with tax dollars involved. Non-christians are allowed to have their rights... no God in school, take God out of pledge, completely anti-christian etc.

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