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A student in Illinois is fighting back after her high school refused to give a religious accommodation exempting her from being forced to participate in a “Gender and Sexuality Program.”
First Liberty Institute sent a letter Tuesday on behalf of senior student, Marcail McBride, to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), which has refused her parents’ request for an accommodation for months.
“The student does not want to participate in a program that requires her to participate in discussions or requires her to engage in writings that will force her to violate her beliefs about sexaulity as well as the fact that the parents under Illinois law are allowed to exempt their kids from any sexual education that they don’t agree with,” Keisha Russell, First Liberty Institute counsel representing Marcail, told the Todd Starnes Show.
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“Both federal and state law apply here and the school is breaking both by not accommodating the parents and the students,” Russell added.
IMSA requires students to complete the Student Gender and Sexuality Program in order to graduate, and despite her parents’ repeated requests since November for an exemption, First Liberty says the school “threatened to punish Marcail if she does not participate in the program.”
The mandatory program discusses sexual orientation and things of a sexual nature, Russell explained, as well as encouraging students to become “allies” and compels or coerces them to agree with beliefs they might not normally agree with.
Host Todd Starnes said it “sounds like some sort of indoctrination program where the students are having to affirm something that may go against their personal beliefs or values.”
First Liberty is willing to pursue litigation in order to make sure Marcael’s rights are upheld.
“The school, regardless of what their position is, the law says they do have to issue an accommodation and grant the parents the ability to opt out of this program because it’s not the school’s job to teach the kids about sexuality,” Russell said.
The academy previously violated Marcail’s brothers’ rights two years earlier, Russel said, adding that they wouldn’t allow that to happen again.