It’s looking the Mom of the Year award may be going to a Pennsylvania woman named Sharon Wright: When her teenage son came out in 2009, Wright and her husband decided to “support him and love him for who he is.”
But Wright was a teacher at the conservative Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, where her son attended, and administrators were allegedly not happy about having an openly gay kid in their midst. So they suspended him—and offered Wright some helpful parenting advice, according to court papers.
Wright says one of her sons, then a high school senior, announced his sexual orientation on a social media blog on Oct. 12, 2009.
When school administrators learned of this, she says, they “took steps to immediately suspend him from school.”
The complaint continues: “In this regard, [headmaster Joseph] Sanelli instructed plaintiff and her husband that their son should not report to school the next day until the matter could be fully discussed. “Shortly after plaintiff’s son’s declaration, plaintiff and her husband met with Mr. Sanelli, [grammar-school principal Gloria] Stucky, and defendant’s Upper School Principal, Robyn Burlew.
At said meeting, plaintiff was informed that her son was to be permanently suspended from school and would not be permitted to return until he “renounced his sin.”
School Board member Rich Raynor followed this up by telling her: “‘your son is broken, and it’s your job to fix him,'” the complaint states.
And, Wright says, Raynor’s wife told her “that this was a ‘battle for [your son's] soul’ and opined that he “may have been abused as a child.”
Wright stood by her son, but the stress took its toll and in 2010, she says that she had to request accommodation—in the form of periodic time off—or anxiety and depression brought on by ongoing harassment from faculty and board members over her son. The academy’s response was characteristically Christian: They refused to renew her contract.
But the story’s not over: According to Courthouse News Service, Wright’s filed a lawsuit demanding back pay, benefits and punitive damages.
Don’t mess with mama!